Newspaper article The Canadian Press

B.C.'S Premier-Designate Talks with Trudeau, Plans Ottawa Summer Visit

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

B.C.'S Premier-Designate Talks with Trudeau, Plans Ottawa Summer Visit

Article excerpt

Horgan, Trudeau meeting planned in Ottawa

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VICTORIA - British Columbia premier-designate John Horgan said he spoke with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday about the softwood trade dispute with the United States and he is planning meetings in Ottawa and Washington, D.C.

Horgan, who will head a minority NDP government, said he expected the meeting with Trudeau will happen before the recall of B.C.'s legislature, now expected shortly after Labour Day.

"We talked about housing," he said. "We talked about transit. We talked about fentanyl and softwood. Nothing's more important in a forest-dependent community than getting a deal for softwood lumber. I want to help his team get a positive result for B.C."

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced in April preliminary countervailing duties against five Canadian companies ranging between three and 24 per cent, with other producers facing a tariff of 19.88 per cent.

Earlier this month, the U.S. announced anti-dumping duties at an average rate of around 10 per cent, which are added on to the previous duties.

Countervailing duties target what the U.S. considers unfair Canadian subsidies, while anti-dumping tariffs go after the alleged selling of softwood below market value. Canadian analysts say the U.S. is talking a tough approach to softwood prior to NAFTA talks set for August

Last year, B.C.'s forest industry accounted for $14 billion in exports, 35 per cent of all B.C. goods exported. Forestry directly employs more than 60,000 people in over 140 communities around the province.

B.C. is Canada's largest producer of softwood lumber accounting for about half of overall production.

Horgan said he'll head from that meeting in Ottawa down to Washington, where he also plans to advocate for the province in the softwood dispute. He promised during May's election campaign to travel to Washington within 30 days of becoming premier. …

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