Resolute Forest Products Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Garneau reaffirmed on the 12th of October the company's support of free, unencumbered access for softwood lumber exports from Central Canada (Quebec and Ontario) to the United States. Mr. Garneau has been a leading figure in the ongoing softwood lumber dispute between the U.S. and Canada, and draws on over 40 years of experience and leadership in the forest products industry across Canada.
Resolute is Canada's largest forest products company and the largest producer of softwood lumber east of the Rockies. Garneau explained that the managed trade has increased the volatility and thus created an unpredictable and unstable trade enivronment between Canada and the US.
While Western Canadian softwood lumber producers benefit from China's extraordinary economic development, logistical limitations mean that Asian markets remain out of reach for Central Canadian producers. Additionally, Western Canadian softwood lumber producers' purchase of 39 sawmills in the U.S., with a production capacity of some five billion board feet, afford them an important measure of insulation from future restrictive measures.
"To put this capacity into context, it is over 150 percent of the total existing capacity of Ontario's sawmills. Canadian demand is simply not enough to absorb all the production of Central Canadian sawmills," added Mr. Garneau.
He also said that Canada has to be able to sell freely to the US as every industry enjoys free trade, expect the softwood lumber one.
"The last softwood lumber trade arrangement between Canada and the United States was incredibly destructive, particularly for Central Canada," further stressed Mr. Garneau.
Canadians have won every legal fight with the U.S. over softwood lumber. Canada has played by the rules and proven that its industry is not subsidized, and does not cause injury to any U.S. industry. Softwood lumber producers in Quebec and Ontario need and deserve nothing less than free trade.
Canadians have an important and influential ally in the United States consumer; however, they are reticent to fully engage their powerful movement in support of Canada considering Canada's stated intention to once again agree to a managed trade deal.
"If there is to be a deal, it must recall a principled purpose: that the Canadian softwood lumber industry does compete fairly in North America and pays a fair market price for timber, and that our forestry regimes are market-based," said Mr. Garneau.
Resolute Forest Products is a global leader in the forest products industry with a diverse range of products, including market pulp, wood products, tissue, newsprint and specialty papers. The company owns or operates over 40 pulp, paper, tissue and wood products facilities in the United States, Canada and South Korea, as well as power generation assets in Canada and the United States.