A lumber industry analyst says a request to exclude New Brunswick from U.S. softwood restrictions may be dropped to get an agreement with the United States, but the province and industry officials say they're sticking to their position.

Hamir Patel of CIBC World Markets issued a report earlier this week saying a deal setting quotas on Canadian softwood exports could be reached in the coming weeks, but only if Canada drops several demands, such as the New Brunswick exemption.

In a statement released Friday, the New Brunswick government said it wouldn't comment on speculation, but it said the province is adamant on the importance of the traditional exclusion for New Brunswick.

Premier Brian Gallant met with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Wednesday to make New Brunswick's case. 

The statement from the province did not address whether Gallant achieved anything from the meeting with Ross or suggest whether the premier felt any confidence a favourable resolution can be reached in the softwood lumber dispute.

Mike Legere, executive director of Forest NB, says the preliminary decision by the U.S. to drop New Brunswick from the tariff exclusion list may have been strategic at the start, but he said he remains optimistic the exclusion from duties and tariffs will be restored.