29 enero 2010

La demanda de madera de China puede rebajar la crisis forestal mundial

visto en bclocalnews.com

Forestry outlook brighter
By Tom Fletcher - Nanaimo News Bulletin
Published: January 22, 2010 3:00 PM

B.C.’s coastal logging contractors wrapped up their smallest convention in recent memory Thursday, with a few glimmers of hope for the future.

Forests Minister Pat Bell told delegates at a morning panel discussion that accelerating lumber sales to China represent an unprecedented opportunity for B.C., as the country embraces wood frame construction for a range of uses.

Sales of B.C. lumber to China are up to about a quarter of production and growing so quickly that the total for the first week of 2010 is more than the first month of 2009, he said.

With log and lumber inventories low in Canada and the U.S., lumber prices are showing signs of recovering and the stock prices of forest companies are also rebounding, Bell told a packed room of delegates at the Victoria conference centre.

A new face for the convention was Levi Sampson, president of Harmac Pacific and a key investor in the employee-led restructuring of the Nanaimo pulp mill that was rescued from bankruptcy just over a year ago.

Sampson thanked Bell for being one of the few people who believed the resurrection of Harmac could be achieved, when media and industry analysts were predicting that the bitter labour history of the industry couldn’t be overcome.

The dedication of workers who are also part owners has paid off, Sampson said, and the city of Nanaimo agreed to give the mill a break on high property taxes that have led to lawsuits from other coastal mill operators.

“Gunboat diplomacy doesn’t often work,” Sampson said.

On the opening day of the 67th annual convention Wednesday, Premier Gordon Campbell carried on a long tradition of addressing the loggers. Campbell had little to offer delegates beyond promises to continue pressing Ottawa for a tax break to benefit loggers, and new B.C. legislation to protect logging contractors when companies they work for have financial troubles.

Bell said legislation will be tabled this spring to strengthen the claim contractors have to be paid for logs they deliver.

The B.C. government’s move to promote “wood first” for non-residential construction represents a huge potential market for lumber, but it will take years to develop, Bell said.

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