Forest communities in Quebec have no other choice but to support the Quebec government to force Ottawa to get the hardcore free trade. They will be able to avoid getting into a fourth agreement on softwood lumber that further restrict access to the US market, believes the mathematician and geographer in international trade agreements, Carl Grenier.
It does not see how Quebec could come out ahead of a fourth agreement on softwood lumber will be more restrictive than the previous three. This is an implacable logic of US producers that continue to restrict market access for Canadian millers.
“Since the signing of an initial agreement in 1986, we had three agreements, one for ten years. When analyzing the content of these agreements shows that they are increasingly restrictive Canadian wood. There was information circulating on discussions for a new agreement. What emerges confirms that US producers were heading this time towards a “hard cap”, meaning international trade a maximum threshold of Canadian lumber imports. It’s illegal, but they can do. It would be very restrictive for Canada who absolutely needs the US market for its products, “insists the guest speaker at the regional Forestry Association.
The second constant of these three agreements is the political collapse of Canadian governments before American negotiators.
“Canada has always been successful when the mechanisms to determine whether the government paid subsidies to businesses and even on the issue of stumpage. Despite favorable decisions in trade, Canadian governments have not supported the industry. ”
The same dropout phenomenon occurred last year. Under Article 12 of the Agreement on softwood lumber, the Canadian government had the opportunity to submit the amendment of the Québec forest regime to an expert committee to determine whether the province could benefit from exclusion of a possible agreement.
The new Quebec plan is now even at very nearly as effective in Oregon. The Canadian government has abdicated its responsibility and is not supported Quebec.
“The implementation of this scheme has been costly to the industry. Local communities need to pressure Quebec to allow it to argue with the Canadian government to demand free trade for the province. This is the only way to get what would normally apply. ”
The specialist in commercial negotiations based little hope on the recent visit of Justin Trudeau to Washington. He does not believe that the softwood lumber issue is a major challenge for President Obama who has left the White House when the negotiations will be conducted.
“The legacy of US President on economic matters is Asia Pacific agreement to replace the term NAFTA. He Canada’s much needed to achieve it. One would therefore be able to play on the table in exchange for a greater sensitivity to the President for the cause of the timber, but Canada’s new government has already indicated that it intends to consult on this agreement. ”
Canada must also contend with internal policy. The weight of Western Canada represents 77% of the production of lumber in Canada while Quebec accounts for between 23 and 25%.
West Sawyers have already announced their color and might settle for a surcharge on exports they compensate with their cost of production and the weak Canadian dollar, according to the specialist.
1982: The Western US producers (Oregon) live a serious crisis and conclude that Canada leads them to unfair competition. The agencies conducting the investigation determines that Canadian lumber is not granted any advantage. This is the beginning of a long commercial war.
1986: Brian Mulroney government does not taint its free trade agreement with the United States. Before the protests of Americans, it simply imposes a tax of 15% in what is considered the first historical agreement on softwood lumber, which will run for five years.
1991 Sawyers of British Columbia want to terminate the 1986 agreement Complaints are handled under Chapter 19 of the Free Trade Agreement and the Canada bleached out of the process. The hardcore free trade covers the years 1995-1996 and a second five-year agreement signed in 1996 with the tax mechanisms and export quotas for Canadian industry.
2001: The end of the 1996 agreement marks the beginning of another battle. This time, the complaints are handled under Chapter 19 of the Free Trade Agreement. The survey, which is legally last 315 days, ultimately extends over 42 months and Canada emerges winner again. George Bush refuses the results of the approach and the Canadian industry to pay $ 5.3 billion in export taxes. Canadian companies are experiencing a dark period and many close their doors.
2006: Stephen Harper’s Conservatives want to improve relations with the US government. Notwithstanding the gains repeatedly before the commercial courts. Stephen Harper signs a third official agreement on softwood lumber. This time, Canadian companies leave a $ billion on the table. The agreement is still more restrictive than the first two. The Quebec industry loses between 2006 and today, 20 000 jobs and change its forest system without having the opportunity to submit to the provisions of the agreement in force before its deadline to opt-out of a future agreement to be negotiated from 13 October, 2017.