Softwood talks resume in B.C.

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VANCOUVER, B.C. — B.C. Forests Minister Mike de Jong is meeting with a senior U.S. trade official over the softwood lumber dispute, but he admits a settlement is still a long way off.

Undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Grant Aldonas, was in Vancouver yesterday for discussions with B.C. officials. He will be travelling to Quebec Sept. 20 to meet with representatives from that province’s softwood lumber industry.

The talks are the highest-level meetings held between the two nations since talks broke off in the spring.

While de Jong says it’s encouraging talks have resumed, there’s little chance of a quick resolution.

“The bad news is fully a year into this dispute I am still using words like beginning,” says de Jong. “We remain a long ways off from arriving and achieving the elusive comprehensive agreement that we have been seeking, but we are obviously talking again.”

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