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FPAC calls for Parliamentary forestry study


December 12, 2007
By Pulp & Paper Canada

Ottawa, ON The head of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) has called on MPs to follow the lead set b…

Ottawa, ON The head of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) has called on MPs to follow the lead set by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology and launch an intensive study that focuses on the unique opportunities and challenges facing the forest products industry. A press release from the association notes that even though global demand for forest products is strong and Canada has the resources to meet this need, Canadians are losing out as mills shut down in the face of unprecedented competitive stresses for the forestry industry.

“Complacency is not an option,” said Avrim Lazar, FPAC president and chief executive. He believes it is time for the federal government to develop a market-based action plan that would set the groundwork for a vibrant forestry industry, a sector that represents 3% of the national GDP and is Canada’s largest exporter of goods. Work on such a plan is essential given the sharp appreciation in the Canadian dollar relative to the U.S. currency; persistent weakness in the U.S. economy, in particular the housing market; structural changes in key product markets, such as newsprint; and growing competition from emerging markets.

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Lazar said MPs could use the Industry Committees ground-breaking analysis on manufacturing, delivered earlier this year with all-party endorsement, and FPAC’s recent report from its competitiveness task force, Industry at a Crossroads: Choosing the Path to Renewal, as the base from which it can build a long-term strategy.

The dollar’s climb has placed enormous pressure on Canadas forest products industry and Canadas manufacturing sector more broadly. Since 2002, nearly 280,000 jobs have been lost in Canadas manufacturing sector, including almost 55,000 jobs in the forest sector. With only a month remaining this calendar year, Canadian mills have announced 60 instances of capacity reductions, resulting in the loss of over 8,000 jobs.


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