Future Uncertain for Northern Sawmills

Tuesday, December 16, 2003 at 14:32



The Saskatchewan government is still working on its official response to Ottawa over the proposed softwood lumber agreement with the U.S.


However, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Len Taylor admits the province has some concerns about how the deal could impact Saskatchewan sawmills.


Taylor says the issue of quota allocation under the proposed deal could seriously hurt the province’s lumber industry — and admits Saskatchewan might not have a lot of say in whatever the Canadian side decides to do with the latest proposal.


Specifically, Taylor isn’t sure how Saskatchewan sawmills will fare when it comes time to divide up the allowable quota.


Taylor also says since the deal calls for quota allocation to be worked out based on what’s happened in the last 2 or 3 years — new groups like Northwest Communities Wood Products could have a hard time getting their foot in the door.


The new deal calls for the Canadian share of the U.S. market to be capped at 31.5 per cent before punishing duties are kicked in. Canada’s current share of the American market is about 33 per cent.