Tolko welcomes Canada's free trade agreement negotiations with Japan; CEO says expanding global markets 'critical' to industry's progress

VERNON, British Columbia , March 25, 2012 (press release) – Tolko Industries Ltd. welcomes the announcement that Canada is entering negotiations with Japan to achieve a free trade agreement.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Minister of International Trade, Ed Fast, made the announcement Sunday during a trip to Tokyo.

“Japan is one of our largest and longest standing overseas customers,” said Brad Thorlakson, President and CEO, Tolko. Over the past 30 years, Tolko has exported a broad range of forest products to Japan, including dimension and metric lumber, oriented strand board, plywood, and glulam. “An agreement that reduces barriers and increases competitiveness is welcome news to the Canadian forest industry and our workers.”.

“Expanding our markets around the world is critical to the long term progress of our company and industry,” said Thorlakson. Tolko now sells more than 40% of its production overseas. “We appreciate the government’s drive to move the country’s trade relations in a direction to further this effort to diversify.”

Tolko Industries Ltd. is a private, Canadian-owned forest products company based in Vernon, British Columbia with 3,100 employees. Tolko is a major producer and marketer of lumber, veneer, plywood, oriented strand board, and kraft papers, with manufacturing operations across Western Canada. The Company’s Woodlands operations have received third-party certification of their sustainable forest management systems.

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