Wall says be ready in softwood lumber dispute

REGINA — Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says Canada needs to be prepared to act as the United States takes aggressive steps in the softwood lumber dispute.

Wall says the U.S. decision to impose tariffs of up to 24 per cent on Canadian lumber was not a surprise.

The premier says the dispute is similar to country-of-origin labelling which the U.S. tried to impose on meat, an issue which almost started a trade war and caused international court fights.

He says a lot of minds finally changed in the U.S. on meat labelling, in part, because Canada produced a list of potential retaliation.

Wall says Canada is not there yet on softwood lumber and it’s important to have a rationale approach in negotiations.

However, the premier says his suggestion in a phone call with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was for Canada to prepare a retaliation list.

“I just think it’s important for us to be ready with action that we’re prepared to take,” Wall said Tuesday at the Saskatchewan legislature in Regina.

“They’re going to be tough negotiators, and if the softwood lumber experience with the Americans in the past is any indication, they’re not going to much care if they lose rulings, in terms of making a change.

“So I think we need to be very firm and united, and again, I think the prime minister’s tone is right and we’ll support him all the way.”

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