Ontario lumber producers meet in Ottawa to discuss U.S. push for heat-treatment of wood packaging material entering U.S.

LOS ANGELES , November 10, 2011 () – The Ontario government will oppose any U.S. efforts to raise a trade barrier by pushing for heat treatment of wood packaging material exported from Canada to the U.S., said a Member of Parliament, Barry's Bay This Week reported Nov. 8.

Ontario wood producers from Renfrew and Nipissing held meetings recently with International Trade Minister Ed Fast and with Agricultural Minister Gerry Ritz. The meetings were to discuss ISPM No. 15, regarding heat-treatment of wood packaging, and its proposed bilateral exemption, Barry's Bay This Week reported.

As reported in March, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) proposes to remove the exemption from ISPM 15 on wood packaging material moving between Canada and the U.S. in both directions, initiating particular concern among manufacturers of wood pallets, which have until now been able to move easily across the border.

Cheryl Gallant, MP for Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke, said the border was no barrier to air-borne insects, adding that a bigger problem lies in offshore sources of wood packaging materials.

Ritz and Gallant said site inspections by people trained to identify insect pests and wood species would provide a more effective solution, Barry's Bay This Week reported.

Gallant said the trade imbalance that favors U.S. hardwood imports to Canada may provide some impetus to a solution for Canadian producers, as the hardwood lumber could possibly present more of an insect threat and a loss of business for the U.S.

Grade hardwood lumber is sawn from the outside of the tree where pests are more usually found, said Gallant. Softwood, on the other hand, is more likely to be whole sawn, Gallant said, Barry's Bay This Week reported.

Wood producers in Eastern Ontario also are concerned about possible unfair subsidies of U.S. imports of red and white pine into Canada.

The primary source of this article is Barry's Bay This Week, Barry's Bay, Ontario, on Nov. 8, 2011.

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