N.B. premier heading to Washington to seek exemption to softwood lumber tariff
New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant is heading to Washington this week to plead his case for an exemption to a trade impasse threatening the province's softwood lumber industry.
"We believe it's also very important for the U.S. economy to be able to get softwood lumber from Canada and specifically from New Brunswick," Gallant said in Saint John Monday.
Gallant will be meeting with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, along with Maine Gov. Paul Lepage.
LePage is a political ally of President Donald Trump and campaigned for him in the presidential election.
"Gov. Lepage is a Republican. He certainly can speak to Secretary Ross in a very informed way about why New Brunswick softwood lumber is important to the U.S.," Gallant says.
Maine and New Brunswick have a lot in common when it comes to forestry. Companies like J.D. Irving Ltd. are big players in the province and state.
"What we see with the state of Maine in particular, you've got mills that produce pulp on one side of the river and transport that to the other side. So there's jobs at stake on both sides here, and the economic impact is going to trickle over to neighbouring states," says Mike Legere, the executive director of Forest New Brunswick.
Over 20,000 New Brunswick jobs are linked to the forest industry. More than 20 per cent of those jobs could be in jeopardy due to the tariff on softwood lumber exports into the United States.
Lumber produced in the other three Atlantic provinces are excluded from the duties.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron.