VICTORIA, B.C.- British Columbia’s special envoy to the United States has taken his leave from the position.

David Emerson served as the prime negotiator representing B.C.’s softwood lumber trade interests in Canada and the United States.

Last month’s ruling of the U.S. International Trade Commission confirmed the start of a lengthy litigation process and greatly reduces the likelihood of an early negotiated deal with the States on softwood lumber trade.

“David Emerson’s expertise and experience have been invaluable in B.C.’s fight for a fair deal on softwood lumber,” said British Columbia Premier John Horgan, in a provincial release.

“While his role as Special Envoy is coming to an end, I am please Mr. Emerson will continue to provide advice and counsel on critical trade matters as needed.”

Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Doug Donaldson, had high praise for Emerson’s knowledge of the Canadian forest industry.

“His intimate familiarity with the softwood lumber trade issue has served the people of British Columbia well,” he said.

“I know from my own past experience that British Columbia and Canada will prevail through litigation and remain confident that a deal can be reached when the time is right,” Emerson said in the release.

“I’m willing to continue to provide my services to support British Columbia, as required.”

Emerson had served in the role since February 2017.