Forest products are big business in BC. In March 2011, the total earnings from BC’s forest product exports totaled $926 million, an increase of 22.3 percent from March 2010. Over 37 percent of these forest products were exported to the US, with China accounting for over 32 percent and Japan for nearly 12 percent.
With the market bottoming out in 2009 and recovering moderately in 2010 the industry has had to reassess its target market, becoming less dependent on the US and increasing its presence in the Asian market.
Historically forest products have accounted for more than half of the total value of BC’s exported goods internationally. With businesses which have under 100 employees accounting for six out of 10 jobs across the forestry, fishing, mining, oil and gas extraction industry, it is evident that there is still a popular industry for small business owners.
With such a large dependency on this industry, it is important to know what is required when exporting forest products. We have outlined a few quick tips to guide you through the industry’s rules and regulations.
1. Contact the Ministry of Forest, Economics and Trade
The Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations is responsible for granting provincial export permits in BC. On their website you can find information about:
- All provincial regulations including: restrictions, applications and exemptions
- Specific procedures for the export of coastal timber which originates from with the Coast and Northern Interior Forest Regions.
- Specific policies for the export of interior timber
We recommend however that you contact the regional office closes to where the timber is located for specific instructions as regulations can often vary.
Coast Forest Region
2100 Labieux Road
Nanaimo, B.C. V9T 6E9
Phone: (250) 751-7090
Fax: (250) 751-7197
Northern Interior Forest Region
1911 Fourth Avenue
Prince George, B.C. V2L 3H9
Phone: (250) 565-6100
Fax: (250) 565-6671
Southern Interior Forest Region
515 Columbia Street
Kamloops, B.C. V2V 2T7
Phone: (250) 828-4102
Fax: (250) 828-4154
2. Register for the Log Exemption Information System (LEXIS)
The Ministry of Forest, Economics and Trade Register launched their new system, LEXIS, this month. The system allows companies to apply on-line and receive exemptions and permits through a secure internet site.
3. Contact the Export Controls Division of International Trade Canada
The Export Controls Division of International Trade Canada (EXCOL), are responsible for granting federal export permits of logs. Export permits are processed in Ottawa by an export controls officer and are issued within 3 business days of receipt of the completed application.
EXCOL has an online system which allows businesses to submit applications via web for export permits and certificates, as well as request amendments.
Before exporting logs, businesses are required to advertise the surplus of logs online through EXCOL for two weeks prior to exportation.
For further information contact the Permit Officer, Annick Lavoie at 613-947-8730.
4. Obtain a Federal Permit for Exporting Softwood Lumber
In order to export softwood lumber to the US you must obtain a federal export permit. This permit requires registration with both Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.
All businesses must be registered for GST before completing the softwood online form. Visit the CRA website to find out how to register for GST.
For further information contact your local Permit Officer:
General information can also be found on the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada website.
5. Understand Your Fumigation Requirements
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is the federal agency responsible for log fumigation. They are responsible for the prevention of the introduction and spread of regulated pests into Canada and export programs for Canadian forestry products. Visit the CFIA website to find out more information on your obligations in regards to packaging materials, treated wood products, debarking and grub hold control and restrictions of movement for specific log types.
Statistics sourced from BC Stats on behalf of the Ministry of Forest, Economics and Trade.