U.S. trade body rules Canadian softwood hurts U.S. industry

Logs are stacked at Murray Brothers Lumber Company woodlot in Madawaska Ont. on Tuesday

ITC Confirms Tariffs Against Canadian Softwood Lumber

In early November, the U.S. Department of Commerce found Canadian exporters have sold softwood lumber to the U.S.at 3.2 per cent to 8.89 per cent less than fair value. USA home builders have also criticized the tariffs, which can boost the price of lumber and raise the cost of building homes. "The U.S. Coalition's claims of injury ring particularly hollow given the extraordinary financial performance that the U.S. lumber industry is enjoying, and given that Canadian imports are at a lower level today than at the levels deemed non-injurious under both the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement and by the ITC itself in the last round of litigation". Since the USA doesn't' produce enough lumber to meet the nation's domestic needs, we need to take steps to boost domestic production.

The disagreement centers on the fees paid by Canadian lumber mills for timber cut largely from government-owned land. The Commerce Department sets out strict rules for avoiding political influence or undue industry interference in tariff cases; still, Secretary Wilbur Ross has greeted his agency's steps toward final tariffs with fanfare.

"The fact is, there is no injury to USA producers and we are fully prepared to fight this egregious decision".

"The evidence presented to the ITC was clear - the massive subsidies that the Canadian government provides to its lumber industry and the dumping of lumber products into the U.S. market by Canadian companies cause real harm to U.S. producers and workers", said Jason Brochu, U.S. Lumber's co-chairman in a statement.

Last month, Canada filed for the creation of an expert panel under Nafta to determine on whether the duties are justified under law.

Canada is challenging the duties under both the North American Free Trade Agreement and at the World Trade Organization.

Canada and the US continue to negotiate a new softwood trade agreement.

Mr. Verheul said this week some of the proposals put forth by the Trump administration on Nafta are "wholly unworkable".

This means Canadian producers will pay antidumping and countervailing duties on any softwood exported to the U.S.

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.

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