INTERVIEW-B.C. premier says 'hopeful' of softwood lumber deal with U.S. in August


WASHINGTON, July 27 (Reuters) - British Colombia Premier John Horgan said after talks with Trump administration officials on Thursday he was hopeful a dispute between Canada and the United States over softwood lumber could be resolved before NAFTA talks begin in mid-August.

In an interview, Horgan said he saw no reason why the dispute should be part of the three-way North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) talks between the United States, Canada and Mexico, which begin on Aug. 16.

Horgan met separately with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington this week over an escalating trade dispute with Canada over softwood lumber exports, which is a major industry for the west coast province of British Colombia.

"I am pretty confident, based on Mr. Ross's view, that he wants to get this done before the middle of August," Horgan told Reuters.

The United States slapped anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on Canadian softwood lumber exports in June after U.S. producers complained that Canada was unfairly subsidizing its lumber producers. (Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by James Dalgleish)