The province is working closely with the federal government, other Atlantic provinces and the lumber industry to ensure the Maritimes continue to be excluded from U.S. import measures on softwood lumber.
“An exclusion which prevents any tariffs or quotas on lumber harvested from the Atlantic provinces is essential for our lumber industry,” said Michel Samson, Minister responsible for Trade. “The rationale for the Maritime Exclusion is well established.”
The Maritime Exclusion prevented lumber produced in Atlantic Canada from being subject to U.S. import measures under the previous Softwood Lumber Agreement and all previous agreements dating back to the 1980s.
“The Maritime Exclusion is based on the fact that Crown stumpage rates in Atlantic Canada are based on fair market prices,” said Mr. Samson. “Those conditions have not changed.”
The Canada-U.S. Softwood Lumber Agreement expired in October 2015. Canada and the United States continue to negotiate toward a new agreement.
A one-year standstill which prevented any trade actions by the U.S. expires later today, Oct. 12. International trade law requires due process before any interim export tariffs or quotas can be placed on Canadian lumber.
“Atlantic lumber producers will continue to work with Atlantic governments to press for continuation of the exclusion which recognizes our long standing history as free and fair traders of forest products in the region,” said Doug Ledwidge, president of Ledwidge Lumber, Enfield, Hants Co. “The stability provided by the exclusion ensures that we can continue to supply our customers in the United States in an unrestricted and efficient manner.”
Nova Scotia lumber exports to the United States were worth $85 million in 2014, accounting for more than 20 per cent of the Maritimes’ total. There are about 600 direct jobs associated with Nova Scotia sawmills and the forestry industry supports 11,500 direct and indirect jobs.