Premier on U.S. softwood trade action: “We will continue to press our case”

PREMIER Christy Clark, reacting to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s preliminary countervailing duty determination to assess duty rates of approximately 20 per cent on Canadian softwood lumber exports, said on Monday: “My message to B.C. forest workers, their families, and producers is this: We are here for you. We will fight for you. And we will not give up. We will continue to press our case and implement our Action Plan on softwood.”

Clark said the government will:

1. Fight the unfounded claims of the U.S. lumber production lobby and the unwarranted and unfair duties placed on Canadian lumber products;
2. Use this preliminary period for B.C. and Canada to reinforce its efforts to reach a fair deal with the United States;
3. Work with U.S. home builders and lumber retailers to demonstrate that Canadian softwood lumber is a critical component of continued U.S. economic growth;
4. Continue to work with the federal government to ensure B.C. forest workers are supported in the event of job impacts; and
5. Accelerate its proven actions to diversify B.C.’s markets and products to further reduce its reliance on the United States.

Clark said” “The forest industry built this province, and it has a strong future ahead – having added 9,825 jobs in the sector since 2011. We will only accept a new agreement that works for B.C. We will fight, and we will win – as we have before.

“The BC Liberal government has made strong progress on diversifying B.C.’s lumber product exports. In 2015, 59 per cent of British Columbia’s softwood lumber exports went to the U.S. – down from 82 per cent in 2001 thanks to increased exports to overseas markets including China and India.”

Clark will be meeting with members of Cabinet to discuss these developments and determine further actions to stand up for B.C. workers and the forest industry.