Representatives of Resolute Forest Products are asking Queen's Park for help, as they battle with American producers for access to U.S. markets. Resolute says they have $100 million in duty deposits sitting in Washington, and there's still no agreement on softwood lumber.
The last deal expired in the fall of 2015, and new terms weren't included in the recently negotiated USMCA.
Resolute Forest Products says their carbon footprint is down 76 per cent since 2000, and they don't want to see new rules from both federal and provincial governments. In their delegation to the finance committee of the legislature earlier this week, the company spokesman noted they had invested $250 million in the province, and they employ more than 4,000 workers.
Resolute supported three main strategies:
- the federal loan guarantee program that helps Canadian exporters deal with the uncertain export climate in the U.S.
- defend exporters against punitive tariffs and duties being imposed by President Donald Trump
- help exporters with access to American markets
In November 2017, Ottawa announced $867 million to help support the softwood lumber industry.
The company also underlined:
- the importance of reliable access to wood supply, noting the uncertainties and restrictions presented by the Endangered Species Act
- the uncertainties created by the possibility of seeing more regulations being imposed by both federal and provincial governments, which add red tape, delays and cost
- the competitive disadvantage presented by Manitoba hydro prices, when compared with Ontario's
In his comments, Energy Minister Greg Rickford emphasized Kenora Forest Products remained closed for a number of years, due to the hydro prices in Ontario, when compared with Manitoba.
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