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BC needs to be part of the overall softwood lumber strategy: Ambassador

The Federal government is confident a new softwood lumber agreement with the United States could be in the works with Donald Trump.

According to Canada’s ambassador to the US David MacNaughton, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had a good discussion behind closed doors with the newly elected President about exportation and says it’s important to come up with the right strategy.

“BC is so important to this country, to its exports of softwood lumber; I’m here to make sure that British Columbia is very much part of developing the overall strategy, not just we develop it and say, ‘will you please follow along.’”

While discussions in the White House were brought up consistently about a new agreement when Barack Obama was still in power, nothing seemed convincing.

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“We don’t want to have any single dispute colour the overall relationship with the United States, but we need to have a fair process to get to a resolution, and that’s what we were trying to impress on them.”

He adds this dispute has become a national issue for Canada and not just a small regional problem for BC.

The ambassador also believes nothing has been set in stone yet because of the current American mindset of protecting their investors.

“Every time we had taken this to NAFTA to dispute resolution, we have always won. We’re not subsidizing our lumber and we’ve got an opportunity now, I think, to try to get a deal that’s good for British Columbia and good for Canada.”

He says it’s important to himself and the Prime Minister of developing a strong relationship with our southern neighbours for all forms of exportation.

MacNaughton was in Victoria earlier this week speaking with Premier Christy Clark and BC’s Trade Envoy David Emerson.

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