Harper Government Committed to Creating Jobs and Opening Markets for Canada’s Forestry Sector

Minister Van Loan welcomes opening of spruce lumber exports to India

(No. 15 - January 11, 2011 - 4:45 p.m. ET) The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, today welcomed the opening of Canadian exports of spruce lumber to India. The announcement is effective immediately and comes as a result of India’s recent certification of Canada’s spruce lumber for import.

“The Harper government’s number one priority remains the economy,” said Minister Van Loan. “Achieving access to an important market such as India’s sends a strong signal to Canadian companies that we are committed to opening markets for Canadian businesses and Canadian workers.”

There is a large potential market for Canadian lumber in Asia. Between 2008 and 2009, the value of annual Canadian exports to China increased by 78 percent to $321.5 million. In addition, continued collaboration between Canada and India in expanding access for other types of wood could lead to rapid growth in overall Canadian wood exports to India.

“While in New Delhi in November, I co-chaired the launch of free trade negotiations with India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Anand Sharma,” said Minister Van Loan. “A future agreement would lead to even more opportunities for many of our companies in a wide range of sectors.”

A Canada-India joint study concluded that a free trade agreement could increase bilateral trade by 50 percent and boost Canada’s economy by $6 billion to $15 billion annually.

Since taking office in 2006, the Harper government has concluded free trade agreements with eight countries. These are Colombia, Peru, Jordan, Panama and the European Free Trade Association states of Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

“The Harper government will continue to take action to create jobs and economic growth for all Canadians, including workers in Canada’s forestry sector,” said Minister Van Loan.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Monika Bujalska
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Peter Van Loan
Minister of International Trade
613-992-9304
monika.bujalska@international.gc.ca

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-996-2000