It might be too late to get a fair softwood deal: MP McLeod

By James Peters / Chad Harris
January 6, 2017 - 3:14pm Updated: January 6, 2017 - 3:55pm

Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod says she believes the Trudeau government's window to negotiate a fair softwood lumber deal with the United States has closed.

"I hate to think it, but I believe we have probably missed the window of opportunity, and I believe we are going to be heading into a very difficult situation over the coming months. Again, I hope I am wrong," said McLeod.

McLeod has been urging the federal government to make the softwood negotiations a higher priority for months, and says a deal will be far more difficult to complete with the Trump administration.

"The opportunity certainly was there when originally the Liberal government in Canada and the Obama administration. Unfortunately the job wasn't done. We know we are heading into a much more protectionist U.S. administration, so certainly big concerns."

A trade deal that does not work for Canada could have disastrous consequences for the BC forest industry.

"The last time we went through this there was a significant impact on the forestry industry in British Columbia. There was job loss, there was imposition of tariffs. Certainly it looks like we are heading down a very difficult path again."

Today, the U.S. International Trade Commission has ruled there was a reasonable indication that softwood lumber products from Canada materially injured American producers.

That opens the possibility of the imposition of preliminary duties on Canadian wood products.

But McLeod says she is still confident an international trade tribunal would rule in Canada's favour.

"We're doing the dance that we've done a number of times around this issue. What has happened always when it has gone to the international trade tribunals, it's always been found that Canada has been acceptable in terms of its practices." 

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