OTTAWA, ONTARIO - Canadian Food Inspection Agency Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, International Trade Minister Ed Fast, and Minister of Natural Resources as well as Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario Greg Rickford announced today that wood exports are expected to increase after Mexico agreed to recognize Canada's heat treated lumber certification program.
Under this new arrangement with Mexico, Canadian lumber producers accredited under a heat treatment program overseen by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) are now able to export wood such as spruce, pine and fir to Mexico without a phytosanitary certificate.
The trade and movement of lumber and wood products are often a pathway for the spread of plant pests. In Canada, lumber is heat-treated to reduce this risk and to meet the import requirements of foreign countries. The heat treatment process is defined in the Canadian Heat-Treated Wood Products Certification Program. This program's certificates are recognized by many of Canada's trading partners including the United States, the European Union, Australia, Korea and now Mexico.
The agreement between the CFIA, Natural Resources Canada, and Mexico's environment and natural resources ministry comes as a result of discussions under the North American Plant Protection Organization Cooperative Agreement which encourages cooperation in facilitating safe trade of plants and plant products between the United States, Mexico and Canada.
The forestry, logging, pulp and paper industries are a significant component of the Canadian economy and contributed almost $20 billion to Canada's GDP in 2013, and $19.1 billion to Canada's balance of trade. The sector employssome 186,500 Canadians.
Canadian lumber exports to Mexico were valued at almost $6million in 2013.
Canada and Mexico are each other's third largest trading partner. The value of Canada and Mexico's total bilateral merchandise trade was $32 billion in 2013, more than seven times the value of trade before the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into force.
"This agreement demonstrates recognition of the quality of Canadian lumber and the integrity of our country's forestry and plant health policies. Our Government is committed to pursuing opportunities for our forest industry and that create jobs for Canadians."
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
"I am pleased that we were successful in achieving easier access for world-class Canadian lumber. This will help Canadian exporters tap into the Mexican market, creating jobs and prosperity at home. Mexico offers great opportunities for Canadian businesses, this is very good news for Canada's forestry workers and their families."
Minister of International Trade
"Canada is a responsible supplier of world-class forest products, and I am pleased that Canadian lumber producers can now export to Mexico. This agreement is a significant milestone in our Government's efforts to enhance market access for Canada's forest products and, in turn, create and protect jobs for Canadians."
Minister of Natural Resources and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario
"This is significant news for our industry and the result of several months of very productive negotiation. On behalf of Canada's lumber producers, I want to extend my gratitude to Mexico for reaching this decision and to the Canadian government for its role in the negotiations."
Industry representative on Canadian Forest Phytosanitary Working Group
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