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New Brunswick announces plans to combat U.S. softwood lumber changes

NB announces plans to combat US softwood lumber changes
Thu, Nov 30: The New Brunswick government has announced the measures they plan to introduce in order to protect and promote the forestry sector in light of the US Department of Commerce decision to no longer grant tariff exemptions. Jeremy Keefe has their story.

Trade actions the New Brunswick government are calling unfair have resulted in the announcement of new measures designed to protect and promote the province’s forestry sector.

READ MORE: New Brunswick hit with softwood tariffs, but rest of region exempt

Treasury Board President Roger Melanson announced the government’s plans which include, developing strategic corridors to improve transportation efficiency, enhance innovation in forestry through increased research, protect forest sector from threats such as the spruce budworm, find new export markets and reduce reliance on trade with the U.S. and engage an expert firm to conduct a review of the forestry market.

“We have a vibrant softwood lumber industry and forestry industry,” said Melanson

“We want to work with industry through all of these initiatives to be able to see access to market, sell their products, grow the economy here and see more jobs created.”

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“This isn’t about just our market and our market access and protecting our market,” added Energy and Resource Development Minister Rick Doucet. “It’s about protecting the forestry sector.”

READ MORE: New Brunswick premier to make final push in Washington on softwood lumber

Advocacy missions to Maine, Boston and China have taken place over the past several months by government officials touting the provincial industry.

Missions of this type to other areas as well as a return trip to China are planned for the coming year as part of the effort to diversify the export market.

Melanson said although these measures are being implemented to strengthen the industry, they continue to support federal counterparts who are once again fighting to ensure softwood tariff exemption is returned to New Brunswick lumber producers.

“Canada fought the decision through litigation and was successful, history is on our side,” he said. “Our government will support the federal government in the pursuit of legal action that’s been undertaken and we’re confident that we will prevail through this litigation process.”