United States locks in duties on Canada's softwood lumber industry

Galtero Lara
Diciembre 8, 2017

"At the same time, the USA and Canada need to hammer out an equitable agreement to resolve this ongoing trade dispute that will provide American consumers a steady supply of lumber at a reasonable price".

A USA trade panel on Thursday unanimously ruled to uphold hefty duties on Canada's softwood lumber industry saying the US industry has been harmed by unfair practices.

The U.S. Lumber Coalition, which filed a petition past year with the Commerce Department to open a case against Canada's softwood lumber industry, praised the decision. "Now, with a level playing field, the USA lumber industry, and the 350,000 hardworking men and women who support it, can have the chance to compete fairly".

"We are confident that the ITC decision will be overturned", Yurkovich said.

"With today's unanimous decision from the International Trade Commission, help is finally on the way", he said.

Susan Yurkovich, President of the BC Lumber Trade Council, which represents lumber producers in British Columbia, the largest Canadian exporter of softwood lumber to the USA, said the ruling by the commission "is completely without merit". The Commerce Department a month ago issued a final determination that Canada subsidizes its forestry industry and dumps lumber on the USA market at unfairly low prices, and the department issued final tariffs of 20% or more, depending on which Canadian mill saws the lumber. It has long argued Canadian lumber should be subject to a tariff to offset the subsidy.

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Canada has already challenged the US lumber tariffs through two worldwide dispute-settlement procedures, calling the duties "unfair, unwarranted and deeply troubling".

Protecting lumber mills is aligned with Mr. Trump's "America first" trade policy, and lawmakers from timber-growing areas of the Southeast and Pacific Northwest have made it clear they support a tough line with Canada to protect American mill workers and timberland owners. Last week, Canada filed a case at the World Trade Organization in response to Commerce's decision to levy the tariffs.

Trade data from the United States Department of Agriculture shows the amount of Canadian softwood imported fell eight per cent for first nine months of 2017, compared with the same period in 2016.

The U.S. Commerce Department last month lowered preliminary duties.

More than 95 percent of all imported lumber came from Canada previous year.

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