Canadian Softwood Lumber Producers In the Crosshairs

Posted June 28, 2017

"This latest action by the Commerce Department to impose anti-dumping duties of up to more than 7 percent on Canadian lumber shipments into the basically another tax on American home builders and home buyers that will jeopardize affordable housing in America", said NAHB chair Granger MacDonald, a home builder and developer from Kerrville, Texas.

The decision to exclude Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island follows a preliminary finding by the department in April that Canada subsidizes its softwood lumber exports, which prompted the United States to slap on countervailing duties of 20 percent.

The rates announced on June 26, 2017 by the U.S. Department of Commerce include: Canfor: 7.72 percent; Resolute: 4.59 percent; Tolko: 7.53 percent; West Fraser: 6.76 percent; All others: 6.87 percent. The U.S. imports nearly 80 percent of Canada's softwood lumber.

The U.S. Commerce Department has rolled out a new round of tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber as the Trump administration postures ahead of NAFTA negotiations later this year.

The duties will continue to be collected until a final decision by the issued later this summer.

"The U.S. relies on Canada for approximately one-third of its lumber needs because of the limited domestic timber supply available for harvesting".

USA lumber stocks were mixed at market open Tuesday in the wake of the Commerce Department's announcement. The duties imposed "are based on a flawed rationale that is damaging to workers, communities and consumers in Canada and the U.S".

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The U.S. anti-subsidy and anti-dumping probes affect about $5.66 billion worth of imports of the construction material, and they show the United States taking a tough stance on trade with Canada as the two countries and Mexico prepare to renegotiate the 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement.

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.

Room to grow for everyoneThe B.C. forest industry is a major contributor to the provincial economy and supports approximately 145,000 direct and indirect jobs in the province, according to the BC Lumber Trade Council.

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

Trade tensions rise between the world's largest softwood lumber exporter and its biggest market, as U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross says he will "stand up for American companies and their workers". "This was proven in the last round of litigation and we fully expect it will be the case again".

NDP MP Nathan Cullen says eliminating as many Canadian companies as possible is the main goal of the USA action, and says there are already mills in his northern B.C. riding that can't afford the duty bills handed them by the U.S.