British Columbia may see U.S. market as redundant when two-year extension to SLA 2006 runs out, says jobs minister Pat Bell; Asian markets will provide 'pressure release valves' in trade disputes

LOS ANGELES , January 25, 2012 () – Pat Bell, British Columbia's Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation, says the province could regard the U.S. market as redundant once the two-year extension to the 2006 softwood Lumber Agreement with the U.S. runs out in  2015.

Bell welcomed the extension, saying it would buy time for the province, CKNW News Talk 980 reported. He noted that, as British Columbia grows markets for its softwood lumber in Asia, it will rely less on the U.S.

According to Bell, the share of the province's lumber being sold to Asian markets is continuing to grow, and as that process continues, the U.S. will become less relevant to British Columbia.

"If they wish to enter into any sort of trade disputes, we will have pressure release valves in other countries," added Bell. He also suggested that the extension has been modeled to ensure that the U.S. is no longer the judge, jury, and executioner in any trade dispute.

The primary source of this article is CKNW News Talk 980, Vancouver, British Columbia, on Jan. 23, 2011.

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