U.S. reduces softwood lumber duties for all but two Canadian producers

THE CANADIAN PRESS

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 final countervailing duty rate is 14.25%, decreased from the preliminary rate 19.88%, and the final anti-dumping duty rate is 6.58%, a decreased form the preliminary rate 6.78%.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement that the U.S. remains committed to "free, fair and reciprocal trade with Canada", and that the decision is based on "a full and unbiased review of the facts in an open and transparent process".

A countervailing duty is a duty assessed by the U.S. Department of Commerce on Canadian exports of softwood lumber to the U.S.

"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 practices".

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

If the decision announced Thursday is approved by the International Trade Commission in December, Canadian companies would have to pay an average 20 percent tariff on the value of softwood delivered to us customers. Canadian unions and lumber companies fear the issue will eventually cause layoffs.

The rate for Montreal-based Resolute Forest Products rises marginally to 17.9 per cent from 17.41 per cent and J.D. Irving's rate inches up to 9.92 per cent from 9.89 per cent.

"We will continue to fight for the 60,000 British Columbians who depend on forestry", said Premier John Horgan. Canfor rose 0.9 percent to settle at C$25.87, the highest since July 2015, while West Fraser rose 1.9 percent.

But the B.C. government is also aggressively trying to push B.c. lumber into Asian markets.


Jason Brochu, co-chairman and co-president of the U.S. Lumber Coalition, said he was "pleased the U.S. government is enforcing our trade laws so that the U.S. lumber industry can compete on a level playing field".

"Unfortunately, for both Canadian producers and American consumers, this ongoing trade action against our industry continues to be driven by a protectionist U.S. lumber industry whose sole objective is to constrain the imports of high quality Canadian lumber to drive up prices for their own benefit".

"Home builders and home owners are already dealing with the monumental rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of the devastating hurricane season and California wildfires", said Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, in a statement.

"This tariff only adds to the burden by harming housing affordability and artificially boosting the price of lumber", Granger said.

Also excluded is USA lumber shipped to Canada for some processing and imported back into the United States, certain box spring kits, and box-spring frame components.

"Canada and the US need to work cooperatively to achieve a long-term, stable solution in lumber trade that provides for a consistent and fairly priced supply of lumber", Granger said. "These duties are a tax on the American middle-class families, too, whose homes, renovations and repairs will only be more expensive".

Lumber products certified by the Atlantic Lumber Board as being first produced in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island are excluded from any duties.

While the duties are lower for most producers than first indicated by United States officials, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says they are still unacceptable.

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

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