Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Susan is my director of communications, so she has come here to try to keep me in line.
Thanks for inviting us here today to talk about this very important topic. We look forward to the questions and answers afterwards.
I'd like to start by offering our congratulations to the Government of Canada on what we think is a highly proactive approach to initiating and completing a bilateral agreement with the EU on trade. We'll be speaking in support of this agreement today.
One of the things I—unlike my colleague Ms. Alto—find very positive about this agreement is the depth with which the federal government consulted with the province. It's a hallmark of collaboration that I don't think has existed in other trade negotiations up to this point in time, and I mention it to speak to it and to encourage the Government of Canada to continue that practice in ongoing trade discussions they have elsewhere.
Today I'm here speaking on behalf of the members of Coast Forest Products Association. We have 20 large forestry companies that operate up and down the coast of British Columbia in all facets of the business, from logging to solid wood production to remanufacture to pulp and paper. We represent a modern, innovative, and sustainable industry that produces logs, lumber, pulp and paper, and a range of high-value wood products to markets across the world. Indeed, we send our products to over 26 jurisdictions across the world in North America, Asia, and Europe. I'm counting the EU as just one jurisdiction.
There are 38,000 people who rely on the coastal forest industry for their livelihood. Communities up and down the coast and on Vancouver Island, including Victoria and my home town of Colwood, rely on our industry for their stability and viability. Even though it doesn't seem that apparent, there are a lot of people in the industry who are in those communities.
We've just completed a value-added study on the coast. We surveyed over 100 remanufacturing companies and found out that those that are manufacturing coastal forest products employ more than 3,000 people and have annual sales of over $1.6 billion. Some of that goes to the EU. What I'd say about that is the product mix we send into the EU, into markets like the U.K., Belgium, and Italy, tends to be on the higher end of the value chain. That is in part due to the fact that many years ago we had a pinewood nematode issue that kind of destroyed our markets, and we haven't been able to recover from that. The world's forest products industry changed, and we changed with it and we still enjoy high-value niche markets there.
By the way, we're non-partisan. I'd like to just speak to the current government agenda around trade, training, transformation, technology, and taxation. Those are all highly important areas that affect the competitiveness of our industry and, ergo, the livelihood of the 38,000 to which I just referred. We are encouraged by a government agenda that looks at those issues in a proactive way, and certainly CETA fits in there.
Just to run through some really quick statistics, B.C. wood exports to the EU were $304 million including $127 million in softwood lumber. Our pulp and paper exports were $168 million. Of that, $161 million was pulp. So you can see that with numbers like that, CETA will have a significant impact on the industry.
What's in it for us? First and foremost is the matter of tariffs. Our exports face tariffs that average 2.2% with highs of 10% and there are quotas that get filled very quickly.
Under this agreement, these barriers are expected to be eliminated, which is very important for the coast of B.C. and our forest industry, because the high-value products we have going in there attract these quotas and tariffs and affect our ability to service those markets. CETA also provides the ability to address non-tariff barriers such as standards certification, conformity assessments, and those kinds of things.
That's a very active part of the world. Market access is something we spend probably upwards of 30% to 40% of our time on, above and beyond just the straight trade stuff. CETA provides that framework, and indeed we're actively talking to them about their illegal logging standards and certifications and those kinds of things.
I talked a little bit about the value added. As I said, this is a very important market for our value-added wood products, including some plywood and—this is not for the coast—the OSB and wood pellet business that our interior friends enjoy. So something like CETA fosters that cooperative trade environment and allows us to get to the root of these issues.
That's kind of it directly on CETA, but as I said earlier, we'd encourage the government regarding its five Ts, including trade, especially around priority markets in the Asia-Pacific region. Those include the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Japan, and Korea. I'm going to India on the 21st to head up another trade mission. We're trying to plow the ground in India. There are issues in the TPP for the forest industry. Japan has a wood points program that is conveying large subsidies to its domestic wood. Korea has a quality indication system on treated wood and is trying to introduce lumber-grading standards that will make it prohibitive for us to export there. China has all manner of subsidies. So when we get to negotiating with them, there's a whole opportunity there for us to level the playing field. As I said, we're trying to develop India as a market. In the Trans-Pacific Partnership we have issues with log export controls. We have issues with how chapter 19 of NAFTA on dispute resolution will be dealt with, and they've been making noise about our provincial timber sales.
At the end of the day our goal is to ensure that we have trade with our valued overseas partners and that the trade be as unencumbered as possible so we can compete and have a healthy and robust industry here. We also look for continued collaboration among the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia, and the forest industry on CETA as well as on these other trade agreements. If I have one negative thing to say about the EU piece, it is that there was a little bit of a convoluted route to the federal negotiators, but we managed to get there. With that I'll close and I look forward to the questions.