Canada Welcomes Agreement to Export Canadian Eastern-Spruce Products to India

Harper government’s focus on opening new markets for Canadian exporters is creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity

July 9, 2013 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, the Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources, and the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, today welcomed the opening of India’s market to Canadian eastern-spruce products, effective immediately.

“I am pleased that we were successful in opening a new market for world-class Canadian lumber,” said Minister Fast. “This agreement will help Eastern Canadian exporters tap into the large and growing Indian market. The potential market for Canadian lumber in India is significant, and this is very good news for Canada’s forestry workers and their families.”

Canadian producers of lumber made from the black and red spruce species found in Eastern Canada stand to benefit the most from the agreement, as India can use the lumber to manufacture in-demand products such as concrete forms, scaffolding, joinery (doors, windows and mouldings), packaging (pallets and crates) and furniture. Moreover, continued collaboration with India to expand market access for other wood species could create new opportunities for the rest of the Canadian forestry sector.

“Today’s announcement is important because it means Canadian companies manufacturing lumber from eastern-spruce species can now increase sales to India,” said Minister Oliver. “Our government understands the need to develop new markets for our forest products to ensure the long-term health of our forest sector, and this welcome development builds on our earlier success in expanding export markets for species from Western Canada.”

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), working with scientists from Natural Resources Canada’s Canadian Forest Service, played an important role in addressing market access issues by providing technical information to the Indian government that helped them in their pest risk analysis and policy decision making.

“Since March 2011, Canada has pursued the acceptance of eastern spruce species into the Indian market,” said Minister Ritz. “The CFIA is pleased to have been a partner in making this happen and to have demonstrated the continued integrity of our plant protection policies and export requirements.”

The forest industry is a significant component of the Canadian economy and contributed more than $20 billion to Canada’s GDP in 2012. The sector employed some 235,000 Canadians, most of them in jobs that tend to be highly skilled. Logs currently account for 77 percent of all wood products imported into India. Demand for forest products is expected to grow in India, driven by increasing GDP, a rising standard of living and a growing demand for housing.

Canadian exports of wood and wood articles to India were valued at $9.6 million in 2012, of which lumber and related products comprised $9.4 million. The value of wood-product exports to India has more than tripled over the past five years.

“Canada’s growing trade with India is also fuelled by our strong people-to-people ties,” said Minister Fast. “Nearly 1.2 million Canadians of Indian descent enrich our communities in cities and towns across Canada. Our government is committed to using these strong ties to build a partnership that will lead to new opportunities and stronger economies for both countries.”

The value of Canada and India’s total bilateral merchandise trade was $5.2 billion in 2012, an all-time high and up 12 percent from five years earlier.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Rudy Husny
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
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Media Relations
Canadian Food Inspection Agency