OTTAWA—A trio of federal ministers are heralding Mexico’s agreement to recognize Canada’s heat-treated lumber certification program as a win for wood exports.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Gerry Ritz, International Trade Minister Ed Fast, and Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford expect Canadian wood exports to increase under a new agreement with Mexico that will see certain wood product producers be able to export wood to Mexico with a phytosanitary certificate.
Canadian lumber producers accredited under a heat treatment program overseen by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will now able to export wood such as spruce, pine and fir to Mexico without the certificate.
“This agreement demonstrates recognition of the quality of Canadian lumber and the integrity of our country’s forestry and plant health policies,” Ritz said in a CFIA statement.
The trade and movement of lumber and wood products are often a pathway for the spread of plant pests, according to the agency.
In Canada, lumber is heat-treated under the CFIA-administered program to reduce this risk and to meet the import requirements of foreign countries.
The program’s certificates are recognized by a handful of Canada’s trading partners including the United States, the European Union (EU), Australia, South Korea, and now Mexico.
“I am pleased that we were successful in achieving easier access for world-class Canadian lumber,” Fast said in the CFIA statement. “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.”
Canada’s forestry, logging, and pulp and paper industries contributed nearly $20 billion to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013, and $19.1 billion to Canada’s balance of trade, according to numbers provided by the federal government.
The sector employs some 186,500 Canadians.
Canadian lumber exports to Mexico were valued at almost $6 million in 2013.