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An investigation of the movement of British Columbia softwood lumber to United States markets Crowther, John William Ferguson


This paper reports upon an investigation conducted into the movement of softwood lumber from British Columbia to the United States during the years 1955 to 1962. The principal method used in the course of the study was an examination of the briefs and statements submitted to the United States Tariff Commission during hearings held in Washington, D.C, in October 1962. In order to keep the material within the context of current events, some space was devoted to a brief summary of pertinent political and economic occurances in both the United States and Canada during the last part of 1962 and the first half of 1963. Thereafter six chapters are devoted to comparisons between forests and extraction, conversion, and distribution costs in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and in the province of British Columbia. Basically the same type of forest is found in these two regions, but the utilization and development of the areas have been different, as have been the competitive factors which have arisen in the areas. Many of the pertinent data have been put into tabular form for easy reference. The penultimate chapter summarizes the briefs and statements submitted by the interested United States lumber dealers, shippers, and producers, and by the Council of Forest Industries of British Columbia, which represented the British Columbia lumber men, at the United States Tariff Commission hearings. The conclusions reached as a result of this investigation were (1) there is a shortage of domestic softwood lumber in the United States which can best be filled by British Columbia lumber imports, (2) British Columbia lumber producers have an advantage over Pacific Northwest producers with regard to stumpage costs, (3) British Columbia lumber producers have no advantage over Pacific Northwest producers with regard to conversion costs, (4) Distribution costs greatly favour British Columbia lumber producers with regard to water-borne lumber, and slightly favour American Pacific Northwest lumber producers with regard to railborne shipments, (5) the exclusion of the Pacific Northwest lumber producers from the Puerto Rican lumber market illustrates the impact of the Jones Act restrictions on the United States lumber industry, (6) in addition to the cost advantages which the British Columbia producers have in the United States Atlantic Coast market, they enjoy intangible advantages which may be characterized as marketing techniques which have created good will for Canadian producers in the American markets, and (7) United States softwood lumber producers in the Pacific Northwest could improve their competitive position in the Domestic market by internal reforms, although they were unable to have imposed on their behalf prohibitive tariffs or quotas. Finally, several suggestions as to possible areas for internal reform are put forward.

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