The new Quebec forest regime is not recognized at fair value in negotiating the renewal of the agreement on softwood lumber between Canada and the United States, says a new coalition government that includes the Couillard.
On the eve of the Summit of North American Leaders, clustering went there a release on Tuesday to increase pressure on the Trudeau government in this thorny issue.
Also formed in the forest industry, municipal representatives, employers’ associations and trade unions, the coalition noted, in a press conference that the province refused quotas and the imposition of tariffs on timber exports to work in the United States, a position that does not unanimous in Western Canada.
Recognizing that there was “urgent need to act,” the Economy Minister, Dominique Anglade, however, is not gone up that Quebec was poorly represented at the negotiating table.
“When we pioneer in a field, what happens is that is not necessarily the first considered in trade,” she affirmed, alongside his colleague Forests, Laurent Lessard .
Taking their speeches, the two ministers reiterated that the introduction of the auction system in the new Quebec forestry regime in April 2013 met the US requirements for free trade.
The coalition believes that the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should enjoy the passage of US President Barack Obama, in the federal capital in order to raise this question.
“The Quebec system is the perfect antidote to the discourse on unfair competition denounced by the Americans, said Mr. Lessard. It would be curious that an agreement does not recognize the Quebec plan. ”
So far, the 100 days of intensive negotiations – expired last week – between the two nations has led to no agreement and significant differences remain. In addition, Mr. Trudeau made it clear that it would be surprising to perform a short-term positive announcement.
Although the agreement has expired, US authorities may impose tariffs on Canadian wood products by mid-October under a grace period of 12 months with effect from the end of the old agreement .
However, without a new agreement, some analysts expect the imposition of a tariff of up to at least 25% by the second half of 2017.
They also believe that the US presidential election could delay the conclusion of an agreement, which did not seem to worry the coalition members.
“The timber is the main factor disagreement between Canada and the United States,” said the president of Manufacturers and Exporters of Quebec, Eric Tetreault. “Be assured that the Americans will see the file back. We think it is better to settle as soon than too late. ”
For his part, the Minister of Forestry estimated that even if an agreement “not on the horizon,” it would be important for Canada and the United States to “build on the principles” that meet the demands of Quebec.
The 2006 agreement between Canada and the United States on softwood lumber was concluded after five years of court battles.
In Quebec, the forestry sector has some 60 000 direct jobs and represents 11.7% of total provincial exports.
Besides the government Couillard, the coalition includes the Council of Quebec Forest Industry, Boreal Forest Alliance Quebec-Ontario, the Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Quebec Manufacturers and Exporters of Quebec Employers Council of Quebec, Union of municipalities of Quebec, the Quebec Federation of municipalities, the Federation of the manufacturing industry of the Confédération des syndicats nationaux, Unifor Quebec and the Congress of democratic Trade unions.