B.C. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson speaks to third annual Sino-Canadian Wood Conference in Shanghai Nov. 12. (B.C. government)

U.S. lumber dispute drives B.C.’s latest trade effort in Asia

Largest forest industry group ever arrives in Shanghai

With no end in sight to the latest anti-trade action by the U.S. softwood lumber industry, the annual B.C. wood products trade mission to Asia this week takes on a new urgency.

Forest Minister Doug Donaldson’s first trip landed in Shanghai on the weekend, with more than 30 forest products executives, making it the largest so far from B.C. Stops in China include Changzhou, Suzhou and Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province, where the Chinese government is conducting a pilot project to use wood frame and wood hybrid construction in its massive urbanization program.

The Jiangsu project uses wood roof trusses and wood infill walls for concrete buildings, to make them more earthquake resistant and cut down the use of concrete that adds to China’s choking urban smog and greenhouse gas emissions.

The trade mission then moves to Japan, long a customer for high-grade B.C. cedar and other lumber used in modern and traditional post-and-beam construction. Both countries are studying wood hybrid high-rise construction, pioneered in B.C. by Okanagan-based Structurlam.

RELATED: Penticton’s Structurlam continues to rise

“We currently export about a third of our forest products to China and Japan and see more opportunity to grow these markets and to showcase how B.C.’s innovative building materials can help reduce the environmental impact of the built environment,” said Susan Yurkovich, president of the Council of Forest Industries and a veteran of Asia trade missions.

B.C. softwood lumber exports to Japan totalled $725 million in 2016, with more than $1 billion in sales to China the same year.

Negotiations to renew Canada’s expired lumber trade agreement with the U.S. remain stalled, with Canadian officials also grappling with U.S. President Donald Trump’s demand to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. Lumber has never been covered by NAFTA, and the two countries have worked out a series of deals to compensate the U.S. for what it contends is a subsidy produced by selling timber from Crown land in Canada.

B.C. lumber producers were relieved by the latest countervailing and anti-dumping duties imposed by the U.S. government, which were reduced from a preliminary level to a total of nearly 21 per cent for most exports. High lumber prices have offset the impact of the punitive duties on B.C. forest products companies.

RELATED: B.C. mills weather storm of U.S. protectionism

Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr met with provincial officials Friday to discuss the impact of the U.S. action and how to use a $867 million federal program to support affected workers and diversify markets. The U.S. lumber lobby has also attacked that effort, calling it another subsidy to Canadian producers.

Just Posted

Aspiring musician lends talent to help schools

Jessica Singleton to do a pair of benefit concerts for Carmi and Uplands

33 Oliver-area homes evacuated

Flooding concerns result in evacuations

South Okanagan community taking action on fire prevention

Community working to prevent a repeat of last summer’s wildfire

Open letter to Premier John Horgan

LETTER: Group called First Things First Okanagan promotes action on climate change

Penticton credit union looks to shred identity fraud

Document shredding event hosted by Valley First on Saturday

VIDEO: Moose found licking salt off B.C. man’s pickup truck

Tab Baker was in his garage in Prince George when the small moose gave his truck a clean

Kamloops RCMP respond to report of dead body floating in Thompson River

Body has not been located, searches to continue as river conditions improve

B.C. student makes short-list for autism advocacy award

Brody Butts honoured for his role as a mentor and self-advocate

Austin Powers ‘Mini-Me’, Verne Troyer, dies at 49

Facebook page confirmed his death Saturday afternoon

Alberta man dead after snowmobile collision on B.C. mountain

The incident occurred on Boulder Mountain Friday morning

B.C. parents grieving teen’s overdose death say it started with opioid prescription

Elliot Eurchuk, 16, died at his Oak Bay home Friday, after taking street drugs

VIDEO: 33 Oliver-area homes evacuated due to flooding

Flooding in the Sportsman Bowl area has swelled drastically over course of one week

Farmers’ Market back in business for another season

The annual Penticton Farmers’ Market was back on the street again Saturday.

16 of 20 fastest improving B.C. schools are public: Fraser Institute

Independent elementary schools remain at top of the chart in think tank’s annual report card

Most Read