International Trade of Canadian Lumber Research Paper

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3.2. International policies

As of 2010, Canada is party to a total of 81 international organizations, as follows: "ACCT, ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), APEC, Arctic Council, ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, C, CDB, CE (observer), EAPC, EBRD, ESA (associate), ESA (cooperating state), FAO, FATF, G-20, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINUSTAH, MONUC, NAFTA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS, OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), SECI (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNMIS, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC" (Central Intelligence Agency, 2010).

In terms of trade organizations which have generated the most impact on Canada's lumber policies and activities, the most reputable institutions refer to the World Trade Organization and the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement. Both institutions formed their opinions and regulations in case of the dispute between Canada and the United States of America. In the case of NAFTA, the committee appointed ruled in favor of Canada, stating that the country was only benefiting from the rights it had under the agreement. The same ruling was issued by the World Trade Organization (Moffatt). The United States has not however subscribed to the ruling, but they continue to develop and implement their own policies "in order to harass Canadian exporters" (Percy and Yoder, 1987).

4. The evolution of lumber trade

From its inception, the export of trade has followed a rather constantly ascendant trend. It was initially accustomed to serving Great Britain's army needs, but it eventually came to export its products to the entire global arena. Today, lumber exports predominantly target the United States of America, but they have been met with a series of challenges in the region. The main of these challenges are derived from a national decision to subsidize the export of lumber, but the decision has risen what appears to be an ever lasting and irresolvable dispute. Despite the fact that several international institutions -- including the NAFTA committee or the World Trade Organization -- have ruled in favor of Canada, the United States lumber industry continues to "harass" the foreign exporters.

Today, the timber industry is one of the economic pillars of the country and the wealth and stability of the population depends on the ability to cut, process and sell the timber. Through time, these processes have been improved and the contemporaneous timber industry is modern and has lost most of its initial characteristics, such as seasonality, almost inhumane working conditions or the social problems associated with the alienation of the worker from his family.

In terms of distributions, Canadian timber has initially been exported to the UK. After the Napoleonic wars ended, the English demand for Canadian timber decreased, but the American one increased. Additionally, the country began to export its products to the West Indies as well. In time however, the focus fall on the use of timber to support the development of Canada and the United States. Today, the main destination of the Canadian timber -- despite the disputes -- remains the United States and the trend is that of exporting timber to the countries in the western hemisphere.

The Canadian timber industry is continually increasing, employing more individuals, generating more revenues and exporting more products. Additionally, it has grown to such levels that it focuses on environmental stability and its growth is environmentally supported. And despite the disputes with the American lumber industry, the Canadian exports are likely to maintain their ascendant growth. "Canada's forestry sector employs approximately 280,000 Canadians, and roughly 300 communities are dependent upon the forestry sector. U.S. lumber producers cannot meet domestic demand for softwood lumber: consequently, Canada now supplies over a third of the United States' consumption of this product. The U.S. housing and other industries, which employ over 7 million American workers, have come to rely upon unfettered access to this quality product" (Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, 2010).


Dufour, D., The Canadian lumber industry: recent trends, STATISTICS Canada, last accessed on October 25, 2010

Hessing, Howlett, M., Summerville, T., 2005, Canadian natural resources and environmental policy: political economy and public policy, 2nd edition, UBC Press, ISBN 0774811811

Moffatt, M., The softwood lumber dispute, Economics About, last accessed on October 25, 2010

Percy, M., Yoder, C.G., 1987, The soft lumber dispute and Canada-U.S. trade in natural resources, IRPP, ISBN 0886450578

Rugman, A.M., 2004, North American economic and financial integration, Emerald Group Publishing, ISBN 0762310944

1872, Lumber trade of Canada, The Quebec Mercury, quoted in The New York Times, last accessed on October 25, 2010

2010, Softwood lumber, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, last accessed on October 25, 2010

2010, The timber trade, Canada Museum of Civilization, last accessed on October 25, 2010

2010, The world factbook -- Canada, Central Intelligence Agency, last accessed on October 25, 2010

2010, Timber trade history, The Canadian Encyclopedia, last accessed on October 25, 2010[continue]

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