B.C.’s envoy to the U.S. for softwood lumber negotiations is not mincing words when it comes to the 20 per cent tariff the U.S. levied on Canadian products Tuesday.
David Emerson came out swinging against the Donald Trump’s plan to introduce the duty.
“It’s not a policy they really care about, it’s about how they can shake us down for a few billion more dollars.”
He expanded by saying the plan is trying to pit Canadian producers against each other.
“It’s a shakedown in a politicized environment where what you really want to do is divide your opponents and create as much pain and distress and confusion as you can by the way you levy the charges.”
Emerson says a small but powerful lumber coalition south of the border behind the tariff, adding it’s something we’ve seen many times in the past.
He expects Canada’s federal government to take some action soon if it doesn’t look like the dispute can be resolved fairly quickly.
Emerson says despite the hefty fee, B.C. and Canada’s industries should be able to weather the storm.
However, he says it will be much harder for smaller operators to weather this storm unless the market stays as it is now.
The tariffs will have a drastic effect on the province, as the U.S. accounts for half of B.C.’s lumber exports.