U.S. affirms tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber imports

The U.S. Department of Commerce has reduced softwood lumber duties for all Canadian producers except Resolute Forest Products. THE CANADIAN PRESS  Paul Chiasson

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

The US Commerce Department on Thursday affirmed findings that Canadian softwood lumber producers had unfairly subsidized and dumped product on the US market, saying efforts to negotiate a resolution had failed.

"We urge the U.S. Administration to rescind these duties, which harm workers and communities in Canada".

Canadian companies exporting lumber to the USA will pay combined duties of about 20% on all lumber exports to the US, once they go into effect sometime in December.

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced Thursday it will impose countervailing and antidumping import duties on several Canadian softwood lumber firms.

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Nova Scotia has been collaborating with industry, Ottawa and USA officials since the expiry of the previous Softwood Lumber Agreement in October 2015, to explain why the exclusion should be maintained.

But the B.C. government is also aggressively trying to push B.c. lumber into Asian markets. The trade dispute has been an intermittent source of friction for years and was reignited in 2016 when the USA lumber industry filed a petition asking for duties.

The final countervailing duty rate is 14.25% (a decrease from the preliminary rate 19.88%) and the final anti-dumping duty rate is 6.58% (a decrease from the preliminary rate 6.87%).

"Unfortunately, for both Canadian producers and American consumers, this ongoing trade action against our industry continues to be driven by a protectionist USA lumber industry whose sole goal is to constrain the imports of high quality Canadian lumber to drive up prices for their own benefit".

In June, Canada announced C$867m (US$640m;£500m) in relief for the country's lumber industry. An earlier version said Resolute was the only producer to have its duties raised. Those talks are continuing parallel to talks with the USA over the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

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"We will forcefully defend Canada's lumber industry, including through litigation, and we expect to prevail as we have in the past", the Canadian statement read.

The department said it had determined that Canadian exporters have sold softwood lumber to the U.S. at 3.2-8.89% less than fair value. In addition, it concluded that Canada is providing unfair subsidies to its producers at rates from 3.34 percent to 18.19 percent. These duties are a tax on American middle-class families too, whose homes, renovations and repairs will only be more expensive.

"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".

Foreign companies that price their products in the USA market below the cost of production or below prices in their home markets are subject to AD duties. Canadian unions and lumber companies fear the issue will eventually cause layoffs. In the last two lumber disputes, Canada won appeals of each countervailing duty order that the U.S. Department of Commerce imposed and each injury determination by the U.S. International Trade Commission.

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