USA locks in duties on Canada's softwood lumber industry

08 December, 2017, 02:49 | Author: Regina Silva
  • Commission rules in favor of US lumber industry

SUSAN Yurkovich, President of the BC Lumber Trade Council, on Thursday called the affirmative injury decision issued by the U.S. International Trade Commission [ITC] on softwood lumber as completely without merit.

The U.S. and Canada have been unable to come to an agreement on the trade of softwood lumber after a former, nine-year agreement expired in 2015.

Canada has already challenged the US lumber tariffs through two worldwide dispute-settlement procedures, calling the duties "unfair, unwarranted and deeply troubling".

The U.S. lumber coalition position is that Canada unfairly subsidizes its producers with low stumpage fees for harvesting trees on government land and that Canadian producers are selling wood into the U.S.at lower prices than they sell it at home.

The combined final rates by company as announced by the Department of Commerce are: Canfor 22.13 percent; Resolute 17.90 percent; Tolko 22.07; West Fraser 23.76 percent; Irving 9.92 percent; all others 20.83 percent.

Reasons supporting the vote are expected to be released in two weeks.

In 2016, imports of softwood lumber from Canada were valued at an estimated $5.66 billion.

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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.

Susan Yurkovich, President of the BC Lumber Trade Council, which represents lumber producers in British Columbia, the largest Canadian exporter of softwood lumber to the US, said the ruling by the commission "is completely without merit".

Although workers in the Canadian industry fear layoffs, so far that hasn't happened, says Joel Neuheimer, vice-president of worldwide trade and transportation for the Forest Products Association of Canada.

"We are disappointed by the ITC ruling and believe this is a protectionist measure created to safeguard the interests of major domestic lumber producers at the expense of American consumers".

The U.S. Commerce Department last month lowered preliminary duties.

Canada and the USA continue to negotiate a new softwood trade agreement. More than 95 percent comes from Canada.

Canada has already challenged the countervailing duties under Chapter 19 of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The WTO process could take years.

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