Campbell: Softwood deal nearly done

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell has returned from a meeting with U.S. vice-president Dick Cheney with renewed optimism for a solution to the softwood lumber dispute.

“We’re going to know within the next few weeks what the true status of this is,” Campbell said in an interview with the Canadian Press from Washington. “Not just from the industry’s point of view, but from the administration’s point of view.”

However, he also said Canada will continue with litigation already underway. It’s not the first time Canadian officials have announced an end to the dispute was near. Dave Haggard, president of the Industrial, Wood and Allied Workers of Canada, remained skeptical when asked by CP.

“I don’t know how many times now we’ve heard similar optimistic predictions that a deal was just around the corner,” said Haggard. “I don’t know that I’m very optimistic until I see the tariffs stopped at the border and I don’t envision that happening in the next two weeks.”

Canadian softwood has been slapped with 27 per cent anti-dumping and countervailing duties by the U.S. since last spring, threatening the country’s $10-billion export industry.

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