With softwood lumber production in BC at its lowest in decades, American buyers are looking overseas to fill the gap.
According to data from ResourceWise, in the last five years the US has increased imports of European Union softwood from almost nothing to 15 per cent of total imports. The US imports about 30% of the softwood it uses annually, with Canada until recently contributing 97% of the lumber.
Ever since the pine beetle epidemic, BC has gone from producing half of Canada’s softwood exports between 2000-2016, to only about one quarter. Production in eastern provinces has remained largely the same.
ResourceWise says the lack of supply could lead to better prices for Canadian producers, but BC may face difficulty accessing timber during forest fire season to meet demand.