Storms add pres­sure for soft­wood deal: Carr

Lethbridge Herald - - BUSINESS & AG NEWS - Mia Rab­son THE CANA­DIAN PRESS — OT­TAWA

De­mand for wood prod­ucts to help re­build af­ter two dev­as­tat­ing hur­ri­canes in the United States will put pres­sure on the White House to sort out the lat­est soft­wood dis­pute with Canada, Nat­u­ral Re­sources Min­is­ter Jim Carr said Thurs­day.

Carr made the com­ments about the storm dam­age fol­low­ing a speech at a meet­ing of the Cana­dian Coun­cil of For­est Min­is­ters.

“We know that it has an in­flu­ence on mar­kets and on de­mand and we also know that Cana­dian pro­duc­ers of­fer a very, very good sup­ply of Cana­dian lum­ber in the United States,” said Carr.

“That’s an eco­nomic re­al­ity. I mean mar­ket forces are im­por­tant. So we think it al­most cer­tainly will have some im­pact on think­ing.”

This came a day af­ter Paul LePage, the Repub­li­can gover­nor of Maine, asked the U.S. to at least sus­pend the tar­iffs un­til the hur­ri­cane re­build­ing has been com­pleted.

LePage said “cor­po­rate greed from a coali­tion of big lum­ber com­pa­nies” al­ready sent soft­wood mar­ket prices soar­ing.

“Mak­ing a profit is the goal of any com­pany — and it should be,” LePage wrote in an op-ed in The Maine Wire.

“But it is un­con­scionable that this coali­tion is in a po­si­tion that could lead to price-goug­ing Amer­i­cans in dis­tress.”

The Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Home Builders in the United States made a sim­i­lar plea to the White House ear­lier this month.

Hun­dreds of thou­sands of homes in Texas and Florida were dam­aged when hur­ri­canes Har­vey and Irma struck in re­cent weeks.

The in­surance in­dus­try es­ti­mated it could be on the hook for up to $250 bil­lion in dam­age claims from the two storms.

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