OTTAWA, April 27, 2017 /CNW/ - U.S. duties on Canadian softwood lumber are unfair and the Government of Canada will vigorously defend the interests of the Canadian softwood lumber industry. As always, our first priority is to protect Canadian jobs and communities.
Today, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Jim Carr, held a call with his provincial counterparts to discuss how to help Canadian workers and communities affected by the countervailing duties announced earlier this week, and to examine additional measures. Ministers from Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador joined the discussions for the first time, after their provinces were not exempted from the new countervailing duties.
Key items discussed included coordinating programs among the federal government and provincial counterparts, including:
- Ensuring companies are aware of and have access to existing financing initiatives under the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada, which offer a range of financial services to Canadian businesses on commercial terms, including loan guarantees;
- Promoting the use of Canadian wood right here at home. Budget 2017 provided $40 million for increasing wood use in Canada, allowing Canada to continue its world leadership in tall wood building development, partnering with industry and the provinces;
- Ensuring that any workers who may be negatively affected are aware Employment and Social Development Canada provides support through programs including Employment Insurance and career counselling, as well as retraining and skills development programs that are delivered at the provincial level; and
- Continuing to monitor and adjust initiatives to meet the needs of workers and communities.
Today's discussion builds on a number of recent efforts made on the softwood lumber file to ensure the continued growth and vibrancy of this sector. Over the longer term, the federal government will be working with the provinces and industry to accelerate industry's transformation through innovation and diversification of markets in Europe and Asia, particularly China.
The Government of Canada will continue to press American counterparts to rescind this unfair and unwarranted trade action. We are committed to working with the U.S. Administration to achieve a durable solution and remain confident that a negotiated settlement is not only possible but in the best interests of both countries.
The Federal–Provincial Task Force on Softwood Lumber was created to share information and analysis and assess how to address the needs of forest workers and communities. The task force complements Canada's ongoing efforts to negotiate a softwood lumber trade agreement with the United States to ensure that our country's forest sector remains a key driver of our economy, particularly in rural communities.
"We believe the primary responsibility of the Government of Canada is to ensure that any workers and producers affected by this trade action have the full support of governments at both the federal and the provincial level, working cooperatively together as we are."
Canada's Minister of Natural Resources
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SOURCE Natural Resources Canada
For further information: Alexandre Deslongchamps, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Natural Resources, 343-292-6837; Media Relations, Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa, 343-292-6100