TORONTO – BUSINESS – The Québec and Ontario governments are applauding the establishment of the Federal/Provincial Ministers Task Force on Softwood Lumber. During the first meeting held by the federal Minister of Natural Resources, both provinces reiterated their request for Ottawa to develop timely solutions in support of Canadian forestry companies.
“Ontario fully supports our forestry sector and the critical role it plays in the success of the provincial economy. This $15.5 billion dollar sector plays a significant role in communities across our province and in the adaptive management of Ontario’s boreal forest in support of our climate change initiatives. A loan guarantee program would help the industry bridge a significant gap during a period of economic uncertainty. Ontario and Quebec believe that this is a national issue that needs a national solution,” says Kathryn McGarry, Ontario Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry.
Québec Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks Luc Blanchette and Ontario Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Kathryn McGarry joined their provincial forestry counterparts in expressing their support for the federal government’s efforts in negotiating with the US and continued commitment to work together towards a resolution to this issue.
The two ministers agree on the role that the federal government must play in supporting industries of national importance when facing international trade uncertainty, taking the opportunity to reinforce their belief that the best solution is the implementation of a loan guarantee program.
The task force is made up of representatives from the provinces that make up the softwood export industry as well as the federal Minister of Natural Resources. The Task Force has a mandate to assess the potential repercussions from possible US duties, will ensure a shared understanding of current mitigation measures and collaborate on new ones to mitigate job losses and negative impacts on the communities that depend on forestry.
“The levying by the US government of duties and the duration of potential litigation considerably affect the financial health of our businesses, which might be compelled to accept an agreement whose conditions are unfavourable to them. All of the partners of our two governments (the municipal sector, the unions and industrialists) agree that the federal government must offer assurances and give our companies the financial tools necessary to enable to better withstand this economic uncertainty. We must ensure the future of a key industry for the economies of Québec and Ontario and the 100 000 workers affected,” states Luc Blanchette, Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks.
- On November 25, 2016, the US Softwood Lumber Coalition lodged a complaint with the US Department of Commerce in order to levy countervailing and antidumping duties on Canadian lumber exports on the US market.
- Countervailing duties could be levied in late April 2017 following the preliminary determination of the US Department of Commerce.