Both the province and the Alberta Softwood Lumber Trade Council call an American decision to slap duties on Canadian lumber “very disappointing”.
Council co-chair Paul Whittaker is hoping Alberta will be able to find more customers in Asia and here in Canada.
“Western Canadian companies and governments have focused an awful lot of attention on the Asian markets in the past 10 years and we’ve been able to grow those markets. We’ve got that international market in Asia that we need to grow, but we also have a domestic market and so we feel working closely with Alberta, we can grow our domestic market here within the province and within Canada to soak up some of that capacity.”
Whittaker admits that won’t take up everything currently sold to the US.
“Right now, the Asian market is not that fruitful from the perspective of fully replacing the US market. British Columbia has been able to grow their exports to China probably ten-fold in the last 10 years. We’ve probably grown four-fold. We think there’s more room for growth and that’s a massive market of (over) a billion people.”
Alberta’s Agriculture and Forestry Minister says it’s too bad Canada has to be in the softwood lumber fight again.
Oneil Carlier is confident Canada will prevail in this dispute as it has in five previous ones.
“I remain optimistic that re-opening of any negotiations, we should look at what we can gain instead of what we can lose, including softwood lumber. We should look at what can Alberta gain in the new negotiations as well.”
Wildrose Leader Brian Jean calls the duties wrong and says they need to be challenged immediately. He adds all provinces need to show a united front in defending Canada’s lumber industry.