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It is interesting that Asian companies are interested in Montana wood products. In the 1990s, the Russian public sector was privatized almost overnight, and a few oligarchs snapped up huge swaths of natural resources and sold them off. The goal was short-term profit and the lure to localities of jobs in a collapsing economy.

The forests of the Russian Far East, in particular, were literally mined of trees by Japanese, South Korean and Chinese companies. Much of that wood was converted in China into finished products like picture frames, to be sold in the West. Now that Russia has raised its tariffs, they seem to be looking elsewhere.

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Our resources are best sold as value-added, finished products, thus creating more jobs here. Sale of raw lumber or worse, raw logs, may create temporary jobs and quick profit, but is the hallmark of the exploitation of a poor, short-sighted country by richer ones.

Bruce Ford, Missoula

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