USA adds more duties to Canadian softwood lumber imports

The U.S. Lumber Coalition released the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Commerce announcement of antidumping duties related to Canadian companies dumping Canadian softwood lumber products in the United States.

The U.S. Commerce Department has imposed preliminary anti-dumping duties on Canadian softwood lumber.

The Department said that, when combined, the applicable duty rates now range from 17.41 percent to 30.88 percent.

In June, the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled an $867-million aid package to the Canadian forestry industry to offset the effect of American duties on Canadian softwood producers.

Canfor will pay the highest of BC producers, at 7.72%, while West Fraser will pay duties on 6.76%.

The Trump administration has accused Canada of unfairly selling its lumber in the USA below production costs, aided in part by improper government subsidies - a trade practice known as "dumping".

But Susan Yurkovich, CEO of the B.C. Lumber Trade Council, said layoffs and job cuts will be avoided for the most part until the USA government sets final duty rates later this year - unless lumber prices suffer a precipitous decline.

The duties will continue to be collected until a final decision by the issued later this summer. "Policymakers need to take steps to significantly reduce red tape that prevents the U.S. Forest Service from better managing its timber lands and increase the delivery of domestic timber products into the market". "While I remain optimistic that we will be able to reach a negotiated solution on softwood lumber, until we do we will continue to vigorously apply the AD and CVD laws to stand up for American companies and their workers".

As a result, the Canadian government reported that that Canadian softwood lumber share in the US was 27 percent in May, down from 31 percent at the same time in 2016 - a CAN$165-million loss in lumber exports for the month, Canadian media reported.

The U.S. lumber lobby welcomed the decision of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

"The ongoing allegations levelled by the USA industry are without merit".

While Mr. Ross and President Donald Trump have both prominently highlighted the dispute, it actually dates back decades, and the US has repeatedly over the years taken measures to try to block Canadian softwood.

They say Canada will "vigorously defend" the forest industry through litigation. In its earlier determination, countervailing duties between 3.02 and 24.12 percent were levied against five Canadian timber producers (Canfor, J.D. Irving, Resolute, Tolko, and West Fraser) with other companies paying a tariff of 19.88 percent.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his Liberal government will continue to work with the USA administration to find a resolution to the latest chapter of the long-running dispute over softwood lumber.

  • Essie Rivera