News Worms
News Worms

Province to fight softwood lumber duties

Province to fight softwood lumber duties

"We will forcefully defend Canada's softwood lumber industry, including through litigation, and we expect to prevail as we have in the past", Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said in a joint statement.

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

The Canadian Government has described the US Department of Commerce's decision to impose countervailing and anti-dumping duties against imports of softwood lumber as "unfair, unwarranted, and deeply troubling".

A countervailing duty is a duty assessed by the U.S. Department of Commerce on Canadian exports of softwood lumber to the U.S.

The U.S. agency said Canadian producers have exported softwood lumber to the 3.2 to 8.89 per cent less than fair value.

Softwood lumber products, like pine, fir and spruce, are mainly used in the construction of single family houses.

The U.S. insists Canada is unfairly subsidizing softwood lumber producers because in Canada, tracts of timber are owned by the provincial governments, while in the United States, softwood lumber lots are privately owned. "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".

The petition was filed on behalf of the Committee Overseeing Action for Lumber International Trade Investigations or Negotiations (COALITION), which is an ad hoc association whose members filed the case on behalf of its individual members: U.S. Lumber Coalition, Inc.

"Such a claim by Canada would be ridiculous after all the efforts we and our government have put into realizing an agreement, and the inability of the Canadian industry to have a unified position on any agreement to this day", he wrote in an e-mail.

While the duties are lower for most producers than first indicated by USA officials, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says they are still unacceptable. In its final determination, Commerce said most Canadian producers will pay a combined countervailing and anti-dumping rate of 20.83%, down from 26.75% in the preliminary determination issued earlier this year.

The 2006 softwood lumber agreement between Canada and the United States expired in October, 2015. In addition, it concluded that Canada is providing unfair subsidies to its producers at rates from 3.34 percent to 18.19 percent. "A reliable source of softwood lumber products from B.C. and Canada will benefit the USA housing industry and American home-buyers".

The dispute helped to spark a surge in lumber prices in the US, with the increased uncertainty over supplies coming at the same time as a recovery in the American housing market.

The development in the long-running trade dispute followed last month's apparent deadlock in trilateral talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, in which Canadian, US and Mexican officials have traded accusations of intransigence. Canadian unions and lumber companies fear the issue will eventually cause layoffs.

The U.S. Commerce Department said imports of softwood lumber from Canada in 2016 were valued at an estimated $5.66 billion U.S.


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