FREDERICTON (GNB) – Premier Brian Gallant is travelling to meetings in Toronto and Washington to promote New Brunswick’s trade relationship with the United States and to build connections with other North American leaders.

Gallant will participate in meetings of the Southeastern United States-Canadian Provinces Alliance, June 4-6 in Toronto, and the Council of the Federation mission to Washington, June 6-8.

“Economic trade between the United States and Canada creates jobs on both sides of the border,” said Gallant. “More than 30 American states have Canada as their largest export destination. The United States is important to the Canadian economy and we are important to their economy.”

Gallant will lead a New Brunswick business delegation to the Toronto conference, which will feature one-on-one business matchmaking meetings among delegates and companies from across North America, as well as forums with senior executives about best practices and innovation. The delegations from the southeastern United States will be led by: Greg Canfield, Alabama Secretary of Commerce; Chris Carr, Georgia Attorney General; Glenn McCullogh, Jr., executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority; Tony Copeland, North Carolina Commerce Secretary; and Bob Rolfe, Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner.

During the joint advocacy mission of Canada’s premiers to Washington, trade and border issues, including softwood lumber, will be discussed. In addition to meetings with his fellow premiers, Gallant will meet with American political leaders to build relationships on issues of importance to New Brunswick. Former U.S. ambassador to Canada David Wilkins, recently appointed as New Brunswick’s special envoy on softwood lumber, will assist in the mission.

“We will be communicating the importance of robust trade between our two countries to American decision makers,” said Gallant.

Gallant will raise softwood lumber as a key discussion point during these meetings, as it is an important export for New Brunswick businesses. The industry contributes more than $1.45 billion to the provincial economy each year and employs more than 22,000 people.

“Exports of softwood lumber to the United States creates jobs in Canada and helps keep construction costs competitive for American families,” said Gallant.

The government recently announced actions aimed at protecting and promoting New Brunswick's forestry industry. These include calling for an immediate start to negotiations regarding softwood lumber countervailing duties; leading trade missions to targeted growth markets in Europe and China to help businesses diversify; and appointing Wilkins, a former United States ambassador to Canada, as New Brunswick’s special envoy on trade and softwood lumber.

Gallant and other government representatives have been lobbying the federal and American governments in support of New Brunswick’s softwood lumber industry since 2014. The provincial government has made submissions to the United States Department of Commerce, demonstrating that New Brunswick has an open, fair and undistorted market for lumber. Treasury Board President Roger Melanson, who is also the minister responsible for trade policy, was in Boston in April, discussing the matter with officials of the Massachusetts state government, and did the same during an advocacy mission to Augusta, Maine, earlier that month. Deputy premier Stephen Horsman is currently in China as part of an economic and advocacy initiative, promoting New Brunswick’s softwood lumber industry to help businesses diversify. Melanson will lead a similar mission to Europe, while a followup mission to China is planned for the fall.