Special Envoy to the United States David Emerson has issued the following statement following productive meetings in Ottawa and Washington D.C. where he advanced British Columbia’s interests in softwood lumber:
“Over the past three days, we have met with elected representatives, officials and stakeholders in Ottawa and Washington, D.C.
“In Ottawa, we met with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Québec’s Representative to the U.S., Raymond Chretien. In Washington, we met with former and current officials with the U.S. Trade Representative’s office, the National Association of Homebuilders and some key senators.
“We have met with them to make sure they understand that B.C. is going to fight on behalf of our lumber producers. We would much rather find opportunities to work together with our American neighbours to find a lasting solution to this long-lived dispute.
“A stable, predictable lumber supply is good for workers and the economy on both sides of the border. We know that the forest sector supports jobs in over 140 communities in B.C.
“We also know that B.C. lumber is a critical part of America’s thriving home-building sector and a thriving home-building sector is a part of America’s long-term economic growth. Litigation will only disrupt the market and create artificial constraints on timber supply that will benefit a select few timber barons and sawmill owners at the expense of American workers and consumers.
“I believe these meetings have been a good start, but there is much more work to do to ultimately secure a softwood lumber deal – which remains our goal. We have differences to overcome but we can – and we must – find a negotiated solution to this dispute for the benefit of both of our countries.”
Softwood lumber: www.gov.bc.ca/softwoodlumber