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Tasmanian Blackwood Growers

Canada–United States softwood lumber dispute


Isn’t it amazing.

Here’s a forest industry story that has strong echoes here in Tasmania.

It seems the forest industry has the same problems around the world.

and even a Wikipedia entry about this trade dispute:

So what’s the issue?

Well the Canadian lumber industry is unfairly subsidized by federal and provincial governments (just like here in Tassie), as most timber in Canada is owned by the provincial governments (just like here in Tassie). The prices charged to harvest the timber (stumpage fee) are set administratively (just like here in Tassie), rather than through the competitive marketplace, the norm in the United States.

And why are forest product prices in the US set through the competitive marketplace? Because most forests in the US are privately owned and private owners do not want to be competing against stupid anti-trust Governments. They want to get the best price possible for their trees.

And the National and Provincial Governments in Canada refuse to reform their forest industry and open it up to competitive pricing, just like the Tasmanian Government.

And don’t the American’s hate that!

Hence the massive trade dispute!

Here in Tasmania private tree growing is still a bit of a novelty. Until 20 years ago most farmers regarded trees is a liability not an asset. Governments did forestry, not farmers. After the disaster of the failed MIS schemes of the last 20 years we have returned to that same situation – trees as liabilities. And we still have Tasmanian Government policy deliberately discriminating against existing and potential future private tree growers through taxpayer subsidised Administered log pricing. Echoes of failed Government bureaucracy from around the world.

Now I’m not sure what defines “unfair” subsidies? Sounds like an oxymoron to me.

I just hope the Americans give the Canadians a lesson in economics 101.

Now I wonder how many of those subsidised, anti-trust Canadian forest operations have FSC certification?

And here we are in Tasmania with exactly the same problem, but we don’t have a trade partner like the USA to kick our stupid butt!

A shame really!!




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