Canadian Lumber Hit With New US Tariffs

Premier Stephen McNeil

Premier Stephen McNeil

In 2016, the USA imported an estimated US$5.66 billion worth of softwood lumber from Canada, the Commerce Department said.

"The massive subsidies the Canadian government provides to their lumber industries have caused real harm to USA producers and their workers", Brochu said.

A timeline provided by the provincial government indicated the U.S. Lumber Coalition filed petitions with the U.S. International Trade Commission and the Commerce Department on November 25, 2016, alleging certain Canadian provinces illegally subsidize lumber producers and certain producers were dumping products into the U.S. market.

Canada is the world's largest softwood lumber exporter and the U.S.is its biggest market. "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".

A 2006 softwood-lumber agreement expired in 2015.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr released a joint statement today saying the federal government will turn to litigation if required to defend the industry and that it expects to win - as it has in the past.

The United States Department of Commerce has announced its final determination of duties of 20.83% to be applied to the majority of Canadian softwood lumber shipments entering the U.S.

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.

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The preliminary duties have forced Canadian companies to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in deposits, which could be refunded if they win a final ruling by the U.S. International Trade Commission on December 18, 2017.

The BC Government is furious with the final determinations of duties from the United States Department of Commerce.

"This administration must fully enforce America's trade laws, not just for the mills and workers in OR and across the country, but for the communities that depend on them", Wyden said.

About 360,000 Canadians were employed in the lumber industry in 2013, Statistics Canada reported.

"We are pleased the U.S. government is enforcing our trade laws so that the U.S. lumber industry can compete on a level playing field", U.S. Lumber Coalition co-chairman Jason Brochu wrote in an email statement.

Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, said the softwood tariffs come as home builders and homeowners are rebuilding in the aftermath of hurricanes and California wildfire. "This tariff only adds to the burden by harming housing affordability and artificially boosting the price of lumber". "These duties are a tax on the American middle-class families, too, whose homes, renovations and repairs will only be more expensive". "But we were very pleased, early on, that the USA industry recognized that this was a marketplace industry in the province. and that they recognized it early was positive for us".

Whereas Canadian companies sold US$4.9 billion worth of lumber into the U.S.in 2104, in 2016 they sold US$5.6 billion.

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