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Kelowna  

Trump & softwood lumber

Tuesday night's election of Donald Trump as president-elect of the United States could have disastrous consequences for softwood lumber exports from B.C.

The softwood lumber agreement between Canada and the U.S. ran out more than a year ago, and negotiations to come up with a new deal have yet to be successful.

Recently, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and outgoing President Barack Obama vowed to get a deal done.

During the election campaign, the incoming president stated on numerous occasions he would back out of any deal that did not favour the United States, including ripping up the North American Free Trade agreement.

At a chamber of commerce sponsored luncheon Wednesday, provincial forests minister Steve Thomson said the election of Trump will not change Canada's efforts to push hard for a new deal.

"We will continue to advocate for a need for a new agreement," said Thomson.

"We'll also make clear an agreement has to work for British Columbia, and we're prepared and will defend vigorously Canadian forests and B.C. forests policy interests against any trade action or litigation that may come."

Thomson said there's still time to get a deal done with the current administration, but that it has been a challenge.

"We still have an opportunity to do that, but it takes engagement and it takes a willing partner at the table in terms of negotiations. We are continuing to push for that.

"But, from our perspective, it's not a deal at any cost. It has to be a deal that works for our industry and provides a level of certainty."

Fifty-five per cent of Canadian softwood lumber is produced here in B.C.



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