Preparatory Work for BEC and JTC Meetings in Vancouver
As a result of US-Japan Market-Oriented Sector-Selective (MOSS) talks that started in 1985, trilateral Building Expert Committee (BEC) and JAS Technical Committee (JTC) meetings have been held every year since 1990. From the first BEC/JTC meetings, Canada has sent delegations to these meetings. The primary objectives of these meeting have been revisions and rationalization of Japanese Building Standard Law, tariff reductions and streamlining of Japanese Agricultural Standards (JAS). Although these committees were originally intended to talk on US-Japan lumber dispute resolution, recent meetings tend to lean more on technical information exchanges. This year the 24th BEC/JTC meetings are to be held in Vancouver from September 23rd to 25th. Canada Wood Tokyo office is initiating the preparatory work for these events, collaboratively with Canadian Embassy in Tokyo and NRCan, the secretariat for Canadian delegations. We are now in the final process of selecting appropriate items for the agenda.
Species Group Issues
One of the recent Japanese codes & standards issues relates to species groups in North American lumber standards. Except for JAS dimension lumber standard (JAS600), Japanese code authorities lack the concept of species group. Non recognition of species groups results in several issues from the market access perspective. For example, the lamina of JAS glulam standard and the planks CLT draft standard are required to be graded in accordance with single species. This means that JAS-graded glulam or CLT cannot be manufactured from Canadian lumber labelled with the species groups such as SPF or Hem-Fir (N). Another example is the recent wood use point system, giving high level of controversy. Canadian lumber cannot be within the scope of this system unless superiorities of a forest resource can be demonstrated for each single species, not for species groups. Canada Wood Tokyo is taking as many opportunities as possible to lobby code authorities to ensure species group concept is included in the wood product standards and the wood use point scheme.