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Legislative Update: Strengthening Timber Markets with Trade Agreements
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The forestry sector in the United States has experienced extreme volatility, unprecedented challenges, and substantial change during the past two decades.  We are at a tipping point regarding the importance of increasing wood markets for the economic livelihood of forest landowners and sustaining healthy forests.  The future suggests both opportunities and challenges.  FLA has increased its commitment to public and government affairs work to leverage a policy atmosphere favorable to the use of wood as an environmentally preferred product.

The FLA is focused ensuring trade agreements advocate the interest of US wood markets and landowners to ensure access to emerging markets for forest related products.

Talking Turkey and Legislative Priorities: L-R RMS CEO Craig Blair, Alabama Forestry Association EVP Chris Isakson, Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR-4), Congressman Gary Palmer (AL-6), FLA Board member Jim King (Westervelt) and FLA CEO Scott Jones.

Canadian Lumber Agreement

The Trump Administration has taken an aggressive position on trade policy, which we believe will be advantageous to forest landowners with negotiations on the new Canadian Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA).

Canadian lumber exports over the year through to February amounted to $16-billion Canadian, which is a level not seen since 2006 as an expired agreement in October 2015 gave Canadian producers open access to the U.S. markets.

Fortunately, that trend may be coming to an end this week as the U.S. Department of Commerce is expected to levy duties on Canadian lumber as early as Tuesday, and some analysts are predicting countervailing duties of 10-15 per cent and anti-dumping duties of 20-30 per cent

Last week Pres. Trump referred to the CLA and the flooding of the market in remarks about a similar issue faced by U.S. Dairy producers, blasting it along with the energy and timber sectors as being unfair to Americans. In remarks delivered Thursday he stated: 

“Canada, what they've done to our dairy farm workers is a disgrace,” he said. “Our farmers in Wisconsin and New York State are being put out of business, our dairy farmers. And that also includes what’s happening along our northern border states with Canada, having to do with lumber and timber.”

As Trump blasted away last week, Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne left for China, to promote Canadian wood in Canada's largest alternative market.

 

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