Trade minister courts China for softwood as U.S. announces duties
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, April 26, 2017 4:00AM EDT
OTTAWA - Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says selling more Canadian softwood lumber to China is one answer to the latest trade dispute with the U.S.
Speaking from Beijing, Champagne says Canada's pitch is resonating in China because softwood is an environmentally friendly building material that can satisfy a need for more housing without higher greenhouse gas emissions.
The minister has several Canadian lumber executives in tow as he continues a major trip to China that includes a high-level economic dialogue with its vice-premier.
The U.S. has announced duties of up to 24 per cent on lumber imports, the latest flare-up in the decades-old softwood lumber feud between Canada and its largest trading partner.
Champagne says diversifying Canada's softwood lumber customer base will strengthen its forestry industry.
However Wenran Jiang, a University of Alberta expert on China, says Canada needs a better plan on engaging economically with China rather than running to it whenever it has a falling out with the U.S.