The Quebec Forest Industry Council (QFIC) unveiled a study at its recent annual meeting showing the province has the highest log costs in North America. The exclusive study on the competitiveness of the Quebec forest industry within the North American context was commissioned by QFIC and presented by Peter Barynin, chief economist for wood products at RISI.
"This study clearly shows that Quebec's forestry industry has a serious competitiveness problem that badly needs fixing,” says André Tremblay, association CEO. “It is proof that despite repeated promises by various natural resource ministers since Claude Bechard, the new forest regime that came into force last April 1 has not been able to reduce the cost of wood. On the contrary, there has even been an increase. "
Investors give notice
Barynin's study was also discussed by a panel of experts from various financial institutions, including Louis Vachon, president and CEO of the National Bank of Canada, Jacques Daoust, president and CEO of Investment Québec and Gaétan Morin, senior corporate and investment vice president of Quebec’s unique Solidarity Fund (FTQ). Clément Gignac, senior vice president and chief economist at Industrial Alliance and former Minister of Natural Resources, acted as panel moderator.
While each plays a different role in forest industry financing, the three experts, however, agreed on one thing: they are willing to invest in forest projects as long as the industry is able to remain competitive and business plans hold up over time. In light of the RISI study by Barynin, panelists agreed it was necessary for Quebec’s forest industry to find ways to reduce procurement costs to remain competitive.