New Brunswick premier optimistic after meeting on softwood lumber in Washington

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant says he remains optimistic his province can be excluded from hefty duties on softwood lumber exports to the United States.

Gallant met with United States Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross Jr. in Washington on Wednesday to discuss softwood lumber and free trade.

Ross is a senior member of President Donald Trump's cabinet and is responsible for negotiating the Softwood Lumber Agreement.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Commerce hit Canada with an additional 6.87 per cent in preliminary average anti-dumping tariffs, leaving the industry facing average duties of about 27 per cent.

The decision exempts the other three Atlantic provinces, but New Brunswick, exempt from such tariffs in the past, is not.

Gallant says Ross listened carefully but didn't offer any assurances, and negotiations will continue between the two federal governments.