United States slaps tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber

Faith Castro
November 4, 2017

Susan Yurkovich, President of the British Columbia Lumber Trade Council, said the duties are driven by a protectionist USA lumber industry whose sole objective is to constrain the imports of Canadian lumber and drive up prices for their own benefit.

"We urge the U.S. Administration to rescind these duties", Freeland said in a statement.

The U.S. announcement of duties of 20.8% on most softwood exports from Canada comes after the breakdown of industry negotiations by Canadian and American softwood producers and in the midst of the deadlocked renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Dumping occurs when goods are sold into a foreign market at below the prevailing market rate in the exporter's domestic market.

The department said it had determined that Canadian exporters have sold softwood lumber to the USA at 3.2-8.89% less than fair value.

"Canada and the USA need to work cooperatively to achieve a long-term, stable solution in lumber trade that provides for a consistent and fairly priced supply of lumber", Granger said.

"We've said all along our (lumber) sector is based on a market economy", McNeil said. To counteract unfair subsidies, countries may also introduce countervailing duties.

"While significant efforts were made by the United States and Canada, and the respective softwood lumber industries, to reach a long-term settlement to this on-going trade dispute, the". These duties are a tax on American middle-class families too, whose homes, renovations and repairs will only be more expensive.

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In its final determination, Commerce said most Canadian producers will pay a combined countervailing and anti-dumping rate of 20.83 per cent, down from 26.75 per cent in the preliminary determinations issued earlier this year.

"This decision is based on a full and unbiased review of the facts in an open and transparent process that defends American workers and businesses from unfair trade practices". "The reduction in rates by the U.S. Department of Commerce further indicates the strength of our appeal case and strengthens our resolve to fight for B.C".

About 360,000 Canadians were employed in the lumber industry in 2013, Statistics Canada reported.

While the duties are lower for most producers than first indicated by United States officials, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says they are still unacceptable.

A 2006 softwood-lumber agreement expired in 2015. Canada also is providing unfair subsidies to its producers at rates from 3.34 percent to 18.19 percent.

"We will forcefully defend Canada's softwood lumber industry, including through litigation, and we expect to prevail as we have in the past", Freeland and Carr said. Meanwhile, U.S. home builders are fighting the tariffs because they raise the price of home construction.

The trade issue will probably not be resolved in the near term as the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement has taken center stage, Mark Wilde, an analyst with BMO in NY, said Wednesday in an email. Canadian unions and lumber companies fear the issue will eventually cause layoffs.

"We urge the USA administration to rescind these duties, which harm workers and communities in Canada", the Freeland-Carr statement said.

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