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Softwood lumber producers shouldn’t be given the wrong impression: critic

The provincial opposition is responding to Premier Christy Clark’s recent remarks on softwood lumber.

They believe the BC Liberals are sending the wrong signal when claiming a better relationship with the new US Administration and President Donald Trump will be possible in the near future.

Photo Courtesy of Bruce Ralston/Twitter

NDP critic for softwood lumber Bruce Ralston says small producers in Northern and central BC are still being left with uncertainty, considering their disadvantages.

“Some of the big companies have bought US mills, but the smaller producers don’t have that option. They sell largely into the American market, and they need market access.”

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The US could impose duties as much as 30% on all companies in the industry to allow products into their market, if the result of their current investigations into BC softwood lumber isn’t to their liking.

Ralston believes this could be a costly scenario.

“It’s a serious situation, yes; it would have an immediate impact and for smaller producers, it would be really tough.”

He also thinks the Premier hasn’t done anything new in terms of pitching the industry to our southern neighbours, claiming she’s too overwhelmed by the upcoming provincial election in May.

“It didn’t go very well. The Americans and the Obama administration were perhaps distracted by the pursuit of other trade deals. I’m not convinced that it looks that optimistic under President Trump.”

While Ralston recognizes the Federal government putting new ministers in Washington DC, he thinks smaller producers should be given the truth than the wrong impression.

On Thursday, Christy Clark spoke openly on the softwood lumber industry in Victoria with Canada’s Ambassador to the US, David MacNaughton, and BC’s Trade Envoy, David Emerson.

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