The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) today welcomed the recommendations of the Competition Policy Review Panel and urged the Government of Canada to take immediate action to implement these measures to improve Canada’s competitiveness.
The Panel’s report, titled Compete to Win, addresses the pressing need for Canadian business to adapt and move forward in order to compete in a changing global economy. The report comes as the Canadian manufacturing sector, including forestry, grapples with one of the most demanding economic situations in its history.
“The recommendations of the Wilson panel would create a business climate that would enable Canadian companies to better compete in this challenging environment,” said Avrim Lazar, President and CEO of FPAC. “Canadian governments cannot be complacent. With the dollar at parity, and intense competition from other countries, governments need to act much more quickly to improve the business climate in Canada. Industry is adjusting, but governments have been slow to recognize the scope of the challenge.”
The Competition Policy Panel has set out an ambitious agenda that provides a blueprint for action. In particular, FPAC supports the Panel’s recommendations to:
- Make the Canadian tax system more competitive;
- Put the primary focus of Canadian competition law on the enforcement of anti-competitive behaviour rather than on concerns about industry concentration;
- Address Canada-U.S. border thickening as the number one trade priority; and
- Create a Canadian Competitiveness Council to advocate for competition and keep governments focused on national competitiveness.
“The Canadian forest products industry operates in a competitive global market place with no trade barriers in Canada. We therefore applaud the Panel’s recognition that in the case of competitive industries such as ours, competition policy should be less concerned with mergers and more with competitive behavior and outcomes,” says Lazar.
FPAC is the voice of Canada’s wood, pulp and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade and environmental affairs. Canada’s forest industry is an $80-billion dollar a year industry that represents over 2% of Canada’s GDP. The industry is one of Canada’s largest employers, operating in over 300 Canadian communities and providing nearly 900,000 direct and indirect jobs across the country.
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