Published: Sat, November 04, 2017
Health Care | By Alberto Manning

U.S. to issue import duties on Canadian softwood lumber

U.S. to issue import duties on Canadian softwood lumber

"The massive subsidies the Canadian government provides to their lumber industries have caused real harm to USA producers and their workers", said Brochu.

The antidumping duty and countervailing duty laws provide US businesses and workers with an internationally accepted mechanism to seek relief from the harmful effects of dumping unfairly priced and unfairly subsidized imports into the United States.

The US Department of Commerce has said it has concluded that imports of Canadian softwood lumber are being unfairly subsidised.

Once that determination is made, the anti dumping and countervailing duties will be applied to lumber exports.

The department said exporters from Canada had sold softwood lumber in the US market at 3.20 percent to 8.89 percent less than fair value, and that Canada was providing unfair subsidies at rates of 3.34 percent to 18.19 percent. Commerce also determined that Canada is providing unfair subsidies to its producers of softwood lumber at rates from 3.34 percent to 18.19 percent. "But we were very pleased, early on, that the USA industry recognized that this was a marketplace industry in the province. and that they recognized it early was positive for us". To counteract unfair subsidies, countries may also introduce countervailing duties.

Last year, Wyden, together with 23 other senators, wrote a letter to President Obama urging the administration to fully enforce US trade laws if it can not reach a fair, effective, and sustainable agreement with Canada on softwood lumber trade. "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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"This trade action is being driven by the protectionist United States lumber lobby, whose sole goal is to constrain imports of high-quality Canadian lumber and to drive up lumber prices for their own benefit", said Susan Yurkovich, president of the BC Lumber Trade Council. "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 practises". Also, companies like Canfor and West Fraser also now somewhat hedged against softwood lumber duties because they have been buying up sawmills in the USA, so the lumber their mills produce there are not subject to the duties.

McNeil said the exclusion of Nova Scotia and the other two provinces from the duty will be finalized on December 20, and at that time the duty the US had been collecting on Nova Scotia lumber will be returned to the producers.

Newfoundland and Labrador is excluded from having to pay tariffs on softwood lumber headed for the United States.

Canada may take legal action through dispute settlement mechanisms under the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization, but Freeland said officials continue to engage with their American counterparts about a negotiated settlement.

The US has claimed for decades that Canada is unfairly subsidising its lumber industry by charging minimal fees to log public lands. Meanwhile, U.S. home builders are fighting the tariffs because they raise the price of home construction. Canadian unions and lumber companies fear the issue will eventually cause layoffs once prices and demand fall.

In 2016, imports of Softwood Lumber from Canada were valued at $5.66 billion.

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