Re: “B.C. adjusts log export policy,” Jan. 18.
B.C. exports logs to other countries because they can produce more value from this timber than we do. For example, offshore markets will pay $90 per cubic metre, while in B.C. it sells for $50.
Countries with strong forest-products economies import more logs than they export. Sweden’s strong forest economy in 2008 imported 5.8 million cubic metres, and exported 2.5 million.
In 2011, B.C. log exports were 6.9 million cubic metres, or about 10 per cent of our total volume logged. B.C. in this year imported an insignificant 37,000 cubic metres.
The weaker our forest economy, the more logs we export. Coastal pulp mills have permanently closed at Port Edward, Kitimat, Ocean Falls, Campbell River, Gold River, Tahsis and Woodfibre. For every pulp-mill closure, three sawmills permanently close.
When B.C. has a strong forest economy, the incentive to export logs will be reduced.
Policies for a strong forest economy will include growing high-quality wood and an increasing supply of valuable timber to attract investment; selling domestic logs at competitive prices so local mills have access to the logs they really want in the desired species, grades and sizes — and predictable quantities; and manufacturing high-quality forest products, in high demand, to sell in global markets.
If we do not control our own destiny, someone else will.
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