Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: April 27, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

What has more layers – french pastry or an onion?

Tree Frog Forestry News
April 27, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

With dual apologies again—both for those who find an angle on the softwood lumber story we missed and for those who are overwhelmed by the number of stories in today’s news. But with round five softwood lumber happening in concert with a new US administration, pending NAFTA negotiations and an election in BC, it seems the dispute has more layers than an onion and French pastry combined.

Here are some new angles on the dispute. Paul Quinn was surprised at the Dept. of Commerce’s “creativity in excluding the investigated companies“, so they could come up with “retroactive duties”, which in his view “are unlikely to be applied when the final rates are announced”Two former American ambassadors to Canada have criticized Trump for his string of remarks. “It’s goofy stuff, unbecoming of our relationship, and frankly unbecoming of the leader of our country,” said James Blanchard. 

Michael Froman, a former US trade representative, says the Obama administration was “on the verge of signing a new softwood lumber deal but the Canadian side felt a better deal could be reached with the incoming Trump administration”, although Canadian Minister Chrystia Freeland, said “this notion is completely false”. Port of Port Angeles officials are concerned that the tariff “could indirectly affect local log exports“. Even late-night comedian Stephen Colbert has a new angle on how to “solve the dispute“.
In other news (and yes there is some), speaking of the first engineered timber office in Australia, managing director Rob Deck, said “even the construction was sustainable, as being timber it did not require drilling or concrete pouring” and “in these days when companies want to attract younger staff, we need to be aware of offering sustainable buildings.”

–Tree Frog Editors

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Froggy Foibles

Stephen Colbert has an idea for how to solve the Canadian softwood lumber dispute

By Jesse Ferreras
Global News
April 26, 2017
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: Canada, United States

“Every day, tensions are rising between the United States and our sworn enemy, Canada.” That’s how Stephen Colbert began a monologue about Canada’s brewing trade conflict with the United States, which escalated with the announcement of a 20 per cent tariff on imports of Canadian softwood lumber… Colbert had an idea for how the two countries could ease tensions… and took the opportunity to make a saucy joke about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (that won’t be repeated here).

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Forestry

Landslides causing concern

By Kevin Rothwell
Castanet
April 26, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Provincial candidates in the Shuswap district have been talking about landslides and not the political kind. During Tuesday night’s debate, candidates were questioned about clear cut logging and whether it should be banned above residential developments. Tolko Industries is proposing to log above the Swansea Point area east of Sicamous, which has seen landslides in the past destroy homes and properties. As well, a section of Highway 97a washed out in 2012. Liberal candidate Greg Kyllo said there wouldn’t be any logging without a full watershed study. “Our government spent over $3 million to replace the culvert on Hummingbird Creek with a bridge and bank stabilization to address the rapid flow concerns.” But the NDP’s Sylvia Lindgren wasn’t so sure, calling for regulations requiring companies to set aside money for compensation in case something happens.

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Protesters call for stop to logging

By Keith McNeill
Clearwater Times
April 26, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Close to three dozen people, most of them local, took part in a demonstration at the Spahats viewpoint north of Clearwater on Tuesday afternoon to protest Canfor’s plans to log nearby. “We’re here because Canfor and the B.C. Liberals are in bed together,” said Trevor Goward, one of the organizers. “A million dollar donation to the B.C. Liberals has bought Canfor the right to drive Wells Gray’s mountain caribou to extinction.”… Goward said that Canfor is preparing to cut hundreds of hectares of critical habitat for caribou in the Upper Clearwater Valley. He noted that the federal government is reviewing a petition from a coalition of environmental groups for an emergency stop order on the logging.

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Driven to brink of extinction, wild Quebec caribou herd being moved to a zoo

By Graeme Hamilton
National Post
April 26, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

MONTREAL — For environmentalists who have fought for decades to protect a shrinking caribou herd outside Val d’Or, Que., it is the final indignity. After its habitat was invaded over the past decades by loggers, sportsmen and thrill-seekers on ATVs, next winter the herd will be chased by helicopter onto a frozen lake to be netted one by one and shipped to a zoo. In announcing the plan Friday, the Quebec’s government called it “a new start” that offered the only hope for a 15-member herd that otherwise risked extinction. “The decision we are making today is responsible and will allow us to ensure the survival of the Val d’Or herd of woodland caribou,” Luc Blanchette, Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks, said.

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Crown land deal on hold pending First Nations consultations

By Michael Gorman
CBC News
April 26, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

A pending long-term lease for management of some Nova Scotia Crown lands by a consortium of mills is delayed as the provincial government continues consultations with First Nations leaders. WestFor, an organization comprised of 13 mills, has been working with the Department of Natural Resources to negotiate a long-term lease in the range of 10 years to manage Crown land in western Nova Scotia, including the former Bowater lands. The land in question is about 566,000 hectares. It was initially hoped the lease would be signed by last December, but an extension of the existing interim licence WestFor operates with was recently granted until September because consultation work with First Nations has not been completed.

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Wildfire on US Refuge Doubles in Size in Less Than a Week

Associated Press in U.S. News & World Report
April 26, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

FOLKSTON, Ga. — A wildfire on public lands near the Georgia-Florida state line has blackened 115 square miles (300 sq. kilometers) after doubling in size within a few days, officials said Wednesday. Sustained winds up to 8 mph (13 kph) were expected to keep pushing flames Wednesday into areas of swamp parched by drought inside the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, where a lightning strike sparked the blaze April 6. …”There is expected to be more fire growth in the coming days,” said Susan Granbery of the Georgia Forestry Commission. “The fuels are very dry. In some cases some of the fire’s flanks have gone into moister soils and it helps to slow them down. But it’s going to continue to grow even in those moister areas.”

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Fires, low timber revenues plague Forestry Department

By Claire Withycombe
East Oregonian
April 26, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

SALEM — Harsh fire seasons and lower than expected revenues from timber harvests have and may continue to put state forests in a tough financial spot, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry. The agency’s state forest program, as of late January, spent more than it realized in revenue during the ongoing two-year budget period. And the agency says the state’s Forest Development Fund, which funds state forests, will go into the red starting in 2022. Previous projections estimated that could happen in 2020. The head of the agency’s administrative services division told the Board of Forestry Wednesday that there are several other budget issues to “watch out” for, including lower-than-expected revenues from harvests of timber and other forest products.

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Debate centers on whether bill helps or hurts forest industry

By Mike Polhamus
VT Digger
April 26, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

A bill before the House committee on natural resources seeks to preserve large blocks of forest from some forms of development. While supporters say it will bolster the state’s flagging forestry industry, some foresters deride it as burdensome government intrusion. The bill, H.233, would require that large developments be engineered to minimize fragmentation of forest blocks. The Committee on Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife is scheduled to vote on it Thursday. …Nearly 1,000 Vermonters work in the forestry industry, and supporters of the bill say it would protect those jobs while reducing environmental harm associated with large-scale development. . …Some foresters say the bill represents merely another intrusion into Vermont property owners’ right to use their land as they see fit.

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Forestry Marks Workers Memorial Day with Major Initiative

By Forest Industry Safety Council
Scoop Independent News
April 27, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Fiona Ewing

The forestry industry is marking Worker Memorial Day (April 28th) by confirming it will launch a major initiative to keep forestry workers safe. The Safetree Contractor Certification scheme has the potential to transform health and safety in forestry, says Fiona Ewing – National Safety Director of the Forest Industry Safety Council. The scheme will be formally launched to the industry in May and June. “Certification will lead to improved health and safety, and employment conditions for workers,” Fiona says. It is fitting that the scheme’s launch should be announced on Workers Memorial Day, she says.

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Special status fails to protect forests from illegal tree loss

By the University of Edinburgh
Phys.org
April 27, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International


Protected forests in developing nations are losing large numbers of trees and creating significant carbon emissions, despite their special status. Safeguarded areas worldwide are being exploited rather than saved for conservation, a study shows. Incentives for exploitation – such as illegal logging, agriculture and palm oil plantation – are outweighing the benefits of protection, researchers say. The University of Edinburgh study found that intervention is needed in these areas to combat their disproportionate carbon emissions. The study, published in Scientific Reports, outlines that deforestation rates are slowing in Brazil, but increasing throughout South East Asia. Indonesia is the second largest source of gross emissions from protected areas, after Brazil. Indonesia produces disproportionately more emissions from its protected areas than any other country.

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Company & Business News

U.S. Imposing Countervaling Duties on Canadian Imports

By National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association
Building Products.com
April 26, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

Jonathan Paine, president & CEO of the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, said his group “continues its call for the U.S. and Canada to reach a new long-term softwood lumber agreement. Both sides should work cooperatively toward a resolution that ends the trade dispute and provides predictability and stability to the housing industry.” NLBMDA supports a new SLA that helps meet domestic demand for softwood lumber, does not put American lumber producers at a competitive disadvantage, unnecessarily restrict the availability of products, or increase the cost of housing to the detriment of prospective home buyers and consumers.

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Canadian Government Casts Twitter Shade At Donald Trump Over Lumber Drama

By Michelle Butterfield
Huffington Post Canada
April 26, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

U.S. President Donald Trump’s tough talk on trade — shouting at Canada about dairy farmers Tuesday — has prompted the Canadian government to respond in more, er, subtle ways. …The Canadian government’s tactic? To highlight details of their friendly trade relations with Asian countries, instead. “Asia is a growing market for Canadian #softwoodlumber,” tweeted the @CanadaTrade account Tuesday evening. They didn’t stop there, releasing several other graphics outling just how much business is being done with China. People following along on Twitter applauded the government for throwing a bit of shade Trump’s way.

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Softwood lumber dispute impacting B.C. home prices

By Russel Hixson
Journal of Commerce
April 26, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

U.S. softwood lumber duties haven’t even gone into effect, but according to the Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association they are already impacting home prices. “Although on the surface of it this wouldn’t seem like it should affect Canadian prices — it really has in the recent quarter and may continue to have an effect going forward,” said Bob de Wit, CEO of the association. “What we’ve seen in the last quarter are distributors and mills ‘hoarding’ supply on the U.S. side, in anticipation of the tariff, as well as Canadian sellers increasing prices — anticipating the retroactive nature of the tariff — ahead of the announcement, with the effect adding up to roughly $5,000 per door extra lumber costs for a new single family home in B.C.” De Wit added that going forward it’s not clear how the tariff will impact domestic lumber prices. 

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Softwood lumber tariffs—another hostile trade salvo from Trump administration

By Steven Globerman
Fraser Institute
April 26, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

The Trump administration this week announced that it will impose new tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber imports… If there’s any good news for Canada, it’s the recognition on the part of many U.S. media and policy experts that U.S. protectionist actions also hurt U.S. consumers. In the case of softwood lumber tariffs, media reports have cited how they will raise new home prices in the U.S. by around 4 per cent (or approximately US$12,000) based on the current median price for a new house in the U.S… The bad news is that U.S. homebuilders have, at best, been weak voices in the softwood lumber dispute in the past, and that the current administration does not seem to understand or care that the cost of “America first” policies will be borne in large measure by U.S. consumers. In the case of softwood lumber, costly and protracted litigation seems the likely outcome yet again, with further indirect damage done to the NAFTA dispute resolution process.

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US home buyers foot the bill for Canadian lumber tariff

By Granger MacDonald
The Hill
April 26, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

In a blow to millions of prospective American home buyers, the U.S. Department of Commerce has imposed countervailing duties averaging 20 percent on imports of Canadian lumber to the U.S. Why should such a development be of concern to Americans? Because U.S. trade policy can have a direct impact on housing affordability. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is mistaken when he says the tariffs will have little effect on the cost of housing. If these duties remain in effect throughout the year, the National Association of Home Builders estimates they will result in the loss of:

  • $598.3 million in wages and salaries for U.S. workers
  • $350.2 million in taxes and other revenue for governments in the U.S.
  • 8,241 full-time jobs

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ETF (Exchange-Traded Fund) Winners and Losers on Trump’s Canadian Timber Tariff

By Sanghamitra Saha
Nasdaq
April 26, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

U.S. President Trump has announced plans to slam a tariff of up to 24% on imports from the Canadian softwood lumber industry… Along with several traders , we also believe the action, if it materializes, may lead lumber prices to scale up as lumber imports from Canada will now become costlier. And domestic lumber companies may also be able to charge some price premium in the face of lesser foreign competition. Investors saw two timber ETFs iShares… hitting a 52-week high on April 25, 2017… Timber is highly correlated with the housing market, as timber and related products are required for new houses. As a result, along with many traders, we also think thathigher timber prices should translate into higher home prices.

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Expect to pay more for softwood products after U.S. tariffs: Frank Dottori

CBC News
April 26, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada

…Forest entrepreneur Frank Dottori estimates the tariffs will impact his White River mill by about $6 million per year, and slightly less at his Horneypayne operation. “Trump’s jacking up the prices of lumber by roughly 20 per cent, or at least 10 percent,” Dottori said. “Who pays? Joe consumer. It’s not the big companies. They’ll just make more money.” He likened the battle to the way the [U.S.] attacks wheat. “They’re bullies and they can get away with it,” he said. “And we don’t retaliate. If you kick me where it hurts pretty soon Canada is gonna kick back where it hurts.” …Dottori says the dispute stems from emotions, not facts. “The [U.S. producers] can make a much higher quality product,” Dottori said. “We have to make a lot of 2x2s, 2x3s, 2x4s. We have lower quality wood.” …”These [tariffs] are illegal, so we’ll win. The problem is our governments have sold us out for 30 years. They’ve negotiated deals that have left us vulnerable.”

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Freeland sees softwood progress as Canada-U.S. wage ‘polite, amicable’ trade war

By Mike Blanchfield
Canadian Press in the Chronicle Herald
April 26, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

OTTAWA — Anyone looking for a political decoder for how the Trudeau government might be interpreting Donald Trump’s latest spate of anti-Canadian trade rhetoric could do worse than American comedian Stephen Colbert. The late-night television personality lampooned Canada’s polite response to Trump’s claims… “Them’s fightin’ words — that’s Canadian for (expletive deleted),” Colbert deadpanned late Tuesday. The Trudeau government is resisting the urge to drop the rhetorical gloves, sticking to its muted, don’t-offend-Trump message discipline. But insiders suggest the last week has put that to the test… “I worked in the private sector for most of my life and I think what everyone in the private sector knows is you need to treat your customers well and you should treat your No. 1 customer particularly well,” Freeland said… So, how did all this polite Canadian disagreeing go down with the Trump White House? Not that bad, according to the White House readout of the Trump-Trudeau phone call.

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Trump’s new tax plan will make Canada’s life even more difficult than lumber and dairy scraps

By Kevin Libin
National Post
April 26, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

Sure President Donald Trump’s first 100 days have been rocky. But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s next 100 days in office could be far worse… On Tuesday came tariffs slapped on lumber exports. Then came ominous ultimatums making it clear we’ll be punished severely for our dairy system. Soon there was talk that the White House is preparing an executive order to open up a NAFTA withdrawal, which would be an immensely powerful bargaining chip. And on Wednesday arrived Trump’s biggest threat to Canada: a cut to the U.S. corporate income tax that could vacuum away Canadian jobs and investment at a rate far worse than any timber or milk tariff might… Lawyers, politicians, academics, policy wonks and producers have spent decades disagreeing on whether Canada’s softwood is freely and fairly traded. If the timber trade were blatantly free and fair — no government ownership, no economic development subsidies, no export controls — we wouldn’t be debating it.

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Canadian lumber layoffs could begin next week, B.C. MP says

By Dane Bowler
Canadian Press in Global News
April 26, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

OTTAWA – Some softwood lumber companies could begin issuing layoff notices as early as next week as they begin to feel the impact of punishing new tariffs President Donald Trump’s government has imposed on Canadian softwood, a B.C. MP warns. Conservative MP Todd Doherty says several small and medium-sized businesses are already considering the steps they might be forced to take as early as next Monday. Several, Doherty warned, aren’t sure how they will make the immediate cash deposits that will come due next week to pay for the new tariffs. “It’s a dark day and it’s going to have some very serious impacts and right away,” he said in an interview.

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Sigh, Cheap Canadian Lumber Makes The US Richer, Not Poorer, Donald

By Tim Worstall
Forbes
April 27, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

Once again we’re seeing that Donald Trump’s one great blind spot is over trade. He simply doesn’t get that the point and purpose of trade is the imports we ourselves buy. And of course we want those imports to be as cheap as possible because that makes us richer. Thus if the Canadian hordes start offering us cheap lumber we should say thank you and buy lots of it. For that’s what makes us richer, gaining cheaper inputs into whatever it is we use lumber for. Seriously, why would we want to prevent foreigners making us richer?… So it’s a billion in tax on what we build houses out of. It’s now more expensive to build American houses. This makes Americans richer in what manner?

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Is it still a good time to buy Canadian lumber stocks?

By Jonathan Ratner
Financial Post
April 26, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

Donald Trump’s latest target in the world of trade – Canada’s softwood lumber industry – has taken new tariffs from the U.S. Commerce Department in stride, at least when it comes to share price movements. Paul Quinn, a Vancouver-based analyst at RBC Capital Markets, expressed his surprise at the DoC’s creativity, and thinks the investigated companies were excluded from retroactive duties because that was the only way to come up with a 15 per cent increase in Canadian lumber shipments. “We note that this is a preliminary determination and we continue to believe that odds are slim that retroactive duties will be applied when the final rates are announced,” Quinn said in a note to clients… Even though share price movements in the sector have been limited, some winners and losers should emerge. Resolute has the lowest preliminary CVD rate among its peers at 12.82 per cent, so Quinn considers the news a relative positive for the company… West Fraser, meanwhile, with the highest rate at 24.12 per cent, should see the greatest near-term impact… Investors should also keep in mind that the Canadian paper and forest products industry continues to benefit from strong underlying fundamentals.

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Fight softwood duties with U.S. coal shipment ban, premier urges

By Andrew Duffy and Lindsay Kines
Victoria Times Colonist
April 26, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

If the United States refuses to come to the negotiating table, and the legal wrangling over the softwood lumber dispute drags on, Canada may want to consider retaliatory action, according to the man tasked with representing British Columbia in the matter. A day after the U.S. imposed duties averaging 20 per cent on lumber shipments to the U.S, David Emerson, B.C.’s special trade envoy to the U.S., said there might be means of getting the Americans to move off their stance that Canada’s lumber industry is unfairly subsidized. Asked if there’s anything beyond the legal route Canada could do to push for a negotiated settlement, Emerson suggested retaliation is an option. “There’s always a big debate as to whether a country wants to link one trade issue with another. It’s a slippery slope and while it often happens quietly and implicitly, very seldom is it done in an open and transparent way,” Emerson said. …But Emerson would not suggest what kind of bargaining chips — energy, water and the like — Canada may have to leverage in the dispute. However, it appeared Wednesday that Premier Christy Clark is willing to wade in. Clark calling for the Canadian government to ban thermal coal shipments — most of which originate in the U.S. — through B.C. ports on the way to Asia.

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Quesnel Mayor Says Sky Is Not Falling Despite U.S. Softwood Duties

By George Henderson
My Cariboo Now
April 26, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

It’s kind of a case of been there done that for the Mayor of Quesnel when it comes to the U-S countervailing duties on softwood lumber. Bob Simpson says he doesn’t see much of an impact, if any on local mills, at least in the foreseeable future… “Our industry here are very good at what they do. Tolko, C & C and West Fraser will all have projected for countervail and anti-dumping duties into this year’s financial statements and next year’s financial statements.” Simpson says while Canadians and industry see the tariffs as wrong, the number wasn’t irrational in terms of what was expected. He also says it comes at a good time…

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Ex-U.S. ambassadors to Canada blast Trump’s ‘goofy’ tone over trade issues

By Alexander Panetta
The Canadian Press in The Toronto Star
April 26, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

WASHINGTON—A pair of former American ambassadors to Canada have criticized U.S. President Donald Trump for his string of remarks about the northern neighbour, calling it counterproductive to seriously resolving trade issues. … “Words matter. Words matter diplomatically. Words matter with leaders. And I think the words that have been used have been unfortunate, and have not been constructive,” Bruce Heyman told a panel in Detroit, organized Tuesday by the Council of the Great Lakes Region. …In fact, James Blanchard put it more bluntly. “It’s goofy stuff, unbecoming of our relationship, and frankly unbecoming of the leader of our country,” said Blanchard, a Michigan governor before heading to Ottawa in the 1990s. He said a lumber dispute makes it harder to renegotiate NAFTA. His advice to Canada, when confronted by fiery presidential language, is to keep cool. “I don’t even think the president knows what he wants to do here. He just likes to negotiate, and bully a little bit. Canada just needs not to overreact.”

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‘How many times will this happen?’: Mayors fear impacts of softwood tariffs

By Liam Britten
CBC News
April 26, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

New tariffs on Canadian lumber exports to the U.S. have mayors of logging communities in B.C. worried about how local economies — and people — will endure. …Castlegar Mayor Lawrence Chernoff still remembers previous rounds of duties, which he says affected every aspect of life in the city. He fears this round will be worse. “Without a doubt in my mind, I’m worried,” Chernoff said. “The forest industry plays such a big role in the community.  “Our community depends on small business and small business depends on the employers that surround our community … We lose employment, people leave. “People are feeling, how many times will this happen?”

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‘People don’t realize Canada’s been very rough on the United States’: Now it’s our turn to get blasted by Trump

By Alexander Panetta 
Financial Post
April 26, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

WASHINGTON — Step aside, China and Mexico: Canada is now U.S. President Donald Trump’s whipping-boy-du-jour on trade, something he made abundantly clear Tuesday with a tweet, a tax, a threat, a scolding and a familiar faux-compliment he used to lavish on others. A preferred Trump tactic is to compliment sly foreigners for outfoxing his supposedly dim-witted presidential predecessors in trade deals. In the 1990s, he said it about Japan. More recently, it was China and Mexico. …“People don’t realize Canada’s been very rough on the United States. Everyone thinks of Canada as being wonderful, and so do I. I love Canada,” Trump said during one of his now-familiar photo ops. “But they’ve outsmarted our politicians for many years.”

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Downie Timber says no layoffs planned as a result of softwood lumber tariffs

By Alex Cooper
Revelstoke Times Review
April 26, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

Downie Timber is not planning any layoffs as a result of tariffs imposed on softwood lumber exports to the United States. “There is no plan at all of changing, shifting or reducing the production we’re doing right now,” said Nick Arkle, the co-CEO of Gorman Brothers, which owns Downie Timber. “Our employees can rest assured we’re doing everything to minimize this impact and carry on as we have done.” The Review spoke to Arkle Wednesday morning, two days after the U.S. Commerce Department announced it was imposing a 20 per cent tariff on all softwood lumber exports from Canada. Arkle said the company was expecting this move and had been preparing it since 2006, when the last Softwood Lumber Agreement was signed between Canada and the U.S. That agreement expired on Oct. 12, 2015, but the U.S. didn’t impose new tariffs until this week.

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‘We knew this was coming’: Manitoba lumber company prepared for Canada-U.S. trade spat months ago

CBC News
April 26, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

As Canada’s lumber industry reacts to punishing duties imposed by the United States on softwood lumber exports this week, at least one Manitoba company says it started preparing months ago. Spruce Products Ltd., a softwood lumber producer and wood products manufacturer based in Swan River, Man. — about 400 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg — has been shipping to Canadian and international markets since 1942. …”We knew that this was coming, as did all lumber producers in Canada, and so in anticipation of it we had stopped shipping to the U.S. in late fall of 2016,” company president Ward Perchuk said Wednesday. “We were fearful of a retroactive duty and we weren’t sure when it could come into play.”

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New Brunswick mill taking ‘time out’ because of U.S. lumber tariffs

Canadian Press in The Telegram
April 27, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada East, Canada

FREDERICTON — A New Brunswick sawmill owner says his mill is shutting down because of U.S. lumber tariffs. Danny Stillwell said Thursday he’s taking “a time out,” at least until a dispute over new tariffs is resolved. He declined a full interview Thursday, but said he stands by comments he made to the Telegraph-Journal newspaper in which he said his Hainesville Sawmill, located northwest of Fredericton, would shut down at the end of next week. The mill, which produces cedar lumber, decking and fencing, has six employees. …Stillwell said all of his cedar comes from private woodlots. The forestry industry contributes $1.45 billion to the New Brunswick economy each year and employs more than 22,000 people.

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Ontario boosts forestry road funding by $20M in response to softwood tariffs

Canadian Press in The Record
April 26, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada East, Canada

TORONTO — Ontario is increasing funding for forest access roads by $20 million in response to the softwood lumber dispute between Canada and the U.S. The roads run through Crown land and are used by the forestry industry and local communities. The provincial government says forestry communities need support after the U.S. slapped duties of up to 24 per cent on softwood lumber entering the U.S. from Canada. U.S. President Donald Trump has recently criticized Canada’s lumber and dairy policies and threatened to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement.

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Trump’s trade actions bring uncertainty to Canadian lumber country

Canadian Press in Cape Breton Post
April 26, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada East, Canada

MADAWASKA, Ont. — It didn’t take long for Donald Trump’s new tariffs on softwood lumber to echo in Ontario’s Madawaska Valley — a forestry-dependent area almost exactly 1,000 kilometres due north of the U.S. capital. The unease settling into the region, which is dotted by sawmills vital to the local economy, is not only tied to the U.S. president’s move this week to impose retroactive duties averaging 20 per cent. …”All of these communities are dependent on the forest-products industry, even if people aren’t working directly in the sawmills or in the bush,” said Ted Murray, vice-president of the 115-year-old Murray Brothers Lumber Company in Madawaska, about 220 kilometres west of Ottawa. …But the changes are still expected to hurt the small- and medium-sized companies here, including Murray Brothers despite the firm’s best efforts in recent years to soften the blow. The company, which employs about 100 people, has lowered its inventories and shifted more of its business away from the U.S. market — towards East Asia and the Middle East. 

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J.D. Irving Ltd. had advantage in fighting for lower tariff, says Roger Melanson

By Jacques Poitras
CBC News
April 26, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada East, Canada

New Brunswick’s minister in charge of trade says J.D. Irving Ltd. had advantages over other sawmill companies in the province that may have helped it win a lower tariff on its softwood sales to the U.S. For the second day, Roger Melanson insisted that the three per cent tariff imposed by the Trump administration on Irving is a sign that sawmill operators in the province are not unfairly subsidized. But Melanson also acknowledged that Irving had the resources to make its case in Washington — resources that smaller companies lack. …J.D. Irving, with sawmills in Baker Brook, Saint-Léonard, Kedgwick, Doaktown, Chipman and Sussex along with other operations, is the largest player in New Brunswick’s forest industry. …Jerome Pelletier, JDI’s vice-president said the company maintains an “open channel of communication with different stakeholders in the United States … to ensure we’re represented properly” in Washington. He said the company does this in conjunction with other New Brunswick forestry companies.

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J.D. Irving Ltd. warns it could be hurt by high tariffs on other companies

By Connell Smith
CBC News
April 26, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada East, Canada

J.D. Irving Ltd. is urging quick negotiations with the U.S. on softwood lumber tariffs and warning that its operations will be hurt by higher tariffs charged to other New Brunswick companies. JDI escaped the 20 percent tariff slapped on other softwood lumber suppliers after requesting a separate review by the U.S.Commerce Department. Instead the company will be charged about three percent. But Jerome Pelletier, the JDI vice-president for sawmills, said the interconnected nature of the industry in New Brunswick means high tariffs on other companies in the province could mean trouble for Irving.

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Trump has set out to protect lumber workers. Instead, he’s helping lobbyists.

By Charles Lane
The Washington Post
April 26, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: United States


President Trump has set out to protect workers and businesses that make their living in the great American forest. But the immediate beneficiaries are probably going to be lawyers and lobbyists who inhabit the Washington swamp. Whatever else this struggle has achieved, it has kept a small army of trade associations and law firms fully employed in the nation’s capital. …Fighting Canadian lumber “dumping” is the raison d’être of the U.S. Lumber Coalition, founded in 1985 and headquartered — where else? — on K Street. Meanwhile, Canada’s wood products industry has its own Washington legal representatives, retained to draft contentious memorandums for the bureaucrats who adjudicate such matters at the Commerce Department. The average American’s stake in all of this — or the average Canadian’s, for that matter — is considerably less clear than the Trump administration’s rhetoric would imply.

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Port of Port Angeles sees possible indirect effect on local timber exports from proposed tariff

By Jesse Major
Peninsula Daily News
April 26, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: United States, US West

PORT ANGELES — Port of Port Angeles officials are concerned President Donald J. Trump’s proposed 20 percent tariff on Canadian soft lumber imports into the United States could indirectly affect local log exports. Trump first announced the proposed tariff during a gathering with conservative media outlets at the White House on Monday evening, The Associated Press said. “That concerns me,” said John Nutter, director of finance and administration for the port. Exactly how the proposed tariff would affect local businesses would be speculation at this point, he said. Nutter said if the proposal goes through, it is possible Canada could increase exports to China, thus competing with the same market as the U.S.

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NZ dollar falls as US tariffs on Canadian lumber raise fears

By Rebecca Howard
Scoop Independent News
April 27, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: International

The New Zealand dollar fell as the imposition of new tariffs on Canadian lumber exports to the US stoked fears about what growing trade protections will have on trade-orientated nations. The kiwi fell to 69.26 US cents as at 5pm in Wellington versus 69.48 US cents as at 8am and 70.33 cents late yesterday. It was at 75.05 on a TWI basis. …The market reaction was “head scratching” as “if one of our competitors – Canada – is lumped with tariffs then that should actually be good for New Zealand, as long as the tariffs don’t affect us,” said ANZ Bank New Zealand senior economist Phil Borkin said. However, “it does highlight the risk that’s where the world is going and clearly it won’t be good if it broadens for a small country like New Zealand.”

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Timber! Lendlease completes first wooden office

By Carolyn Cummins
The Sydney Morning Herald
April 27, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

The first thing that hits the senses when walking into Lendlease’s International House Sydney is the sweet smell of the forest. It is the first engineered timber office in the country and sits in Barangaroo complex, Sydney. The designers say it will help to lower blood pressure and orders are said to be flowing in. The wooden beams across the open plan office floors mean staff can literally hug a tree. The managing director of Barangaroo, Rob Deck, said now clients can see the property “we have a received a lot of interest” for possible new sites. “Even the construction was sustainable, as being timber it did not require drilling or concrete pouring, which made it a very quiet building site with minimal wastage,” Mr Deck said. “In these days when companies want to attract younger staff, we need to be aware of offering sustainable buildings.”

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Architects want to put skyscrapers inside hollowed-out Giant Sequoia trees in California

By Leanna Garfield
Business Insider UK
April 26, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International


The average Giant Sequoia tree, native to California’s Sierra Nevada, can stretch anywhere from 150 to 280 feet. The world’s largest Sequoia (by trunk volume and height) is the General Sherman tree in California, which measures a whopping 275 feet tall and 102 feet wide. Four South Korean architects say the Sequoia’s massive size would make them perfect homes for skyscrapers. The architects — Ko Jinhyeuk, Cheong Changwon, Cho Kyuhyung, and Choi Sunwoong — designed a tower that would live inside hollowed-out Giant Sequoia trees in California. Their design, aptly named the Giant Sequoia Skyscraper, won honorable mention in the 2017 design competition by the architecture magazine eVolo. The magazine’s jury awards innovative ideas for futuristic skyscrapers annually, with this year’s competition garnering over 400 entries from all over the world.

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