Mixed Reaction to Reduced U.S. Duties on Canadian Softwood Lumber


Canada’s international trade minister says newly reduced duties on softwood lumber imported to the United States are “a step in the right direction,” but added any additional fees are “unwarranted and unfair.”

The U.S. Department of Commerce on Tuesday set a new duty rate of 8.9 per cent on average after completing its first administrative review on softwood lumber imports from Canada.

The new rate is down from the original 20.2 per cent average duty imposed in 2017 by the U.S., which alleged Canada was both unfairly subsidizing its industry and then dumping wood into the U.S. at unfair prices.

International Trade Minister Mary Ng said her ministry will continue to seek a negotiated settlement with the U.S. through both the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the new Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement. She said a settlement is “not only possible, but in the interests of both our countries.”

Ng has joined Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other federal government officials in saying the U.S. duties have only served to drive up construction costs on both sides of the border, further hurting a lumber industry already impacted by climate change and other issues like pine beetle infestations.

The BC Lumber Trade Council called the remaining duties “frustrating and disappointing,” and said U.S. demand for lumber has outpaced domestically produced product.

In its own statement, the U.S. Lumber Coalition argued the reduced duty rate “understates true levels of subsidies and dumping” by the Canadian industry and expressed hope the rate will increase after the completion of a second review, which began in March.

“The U.S. lumber industry will continue to push for the trade laws to be enforced to the fullest extent possible in the second administrative review to allow U.S. manufacturers and workers the chance to prosper,” coalition co-chair Jason Brochu said.

(Source: Global News)