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New Brunswick government sticking to request for exclusion from softwood restrictions

A worker tidies up the wood pile at a lumber yard Tuesday, April 25, 2017 in Montreal.
A worker tidies up the wood pile at a lumber yard Tuesday, April 25, 2017 in Montreal. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

A lumber industry analyst says a request to exclude New Brunswick from U.S. softwood restrictions may be dropped to get an agreement with the United States, but the province and industry officials say they’re sticking to their position.

Hamir Patel of CIBC World Markets issued a report earlier this week saying a deal setting quotas on Canadian softwood exports could be reached in the coming weeks, but only if Canada drops several demands, such as the New Brunswick exemption.

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READ MORE: New Brunswick premier optimistic after meeting on softwood lumber in Washington

In a statement released today, the New Brunswick government says it won’t comment on speculation, but it says the province is adamant on the importance of the traditional exclusion for New Brunswick.

Premier Brian Gallant met with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Wednesday to make New Brunswick’s case.

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READ MORE: Governor of Maine to seek New Brunswick exemption in softwood talks, minister says

Mike Legere, executive director of Forest NB, says the preliminary decision by the U.S. to drop New Brunswick from the exclusion list may have been strategic at the start, but he says he remains optimistic the exclusion from duties and tariffs will be restored.

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