US Commerce Department announces anti-dumping tariffs on softwood exports

US Commerce Department announces anti-dumping tariffs on softwood exports”

The U.S. will impose further punitive tariffs on imports of softwood lumber from Canada, escalating a longstanding trade dispute that's already led to higher timber prices.

USA producers asked the Commerce Department to investigate subsidies to Canadian competitors soon after President Donald Trump's election last November, alleging a dumping margin of 20.12% to 53.08%.

NDP MP Nathan Cullen says eliminating as many Canadian companies as possible is the main goal of the US 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.

The U.S., Mexico and Canada are expected to start NAFTA discussions on August 16 with the aim to complete a new, modernized deal by early next year.

Both sets of duties are preliminary, and a final decision is expected later this summer. "We encourage the Department to continue strongly enforcing USA trade laws to respond to these unfair practices that have harmed USA companies and their workers".

Its preliminary duties were 7.72 percent for Canfor Corp and related firms, 4.59 percent for Resolute FP Canada, 7.53 percent for Tolko Industries, 6.76 percent for West Fraser Mills and 6.87 percent for all others.

Canada reiterated it will "vigorously defend" its softwood lumber industry against "unwarranted" trade action, according to a joint statement from Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr.

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Susan Yurkovich, who chairs the British Columbia Lumber Trade Council, denounced the tariffs as "without merit", saying they would also hurt United States consumers looking to build or reconstruct.

Until the decision is confirmed, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the duties would still be collected on lumber from the three provinces.

"Despite the latest duties announcement from the Department of Commerce, NLBMDA continues to call for a new long-term softwood lumber agreement", said Jonathan Paine, president and CEO of the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA).

"The duties are a direct result of the actions taken by the protectionist USA lumber lobby whose sole goal is to create artificial constraints on Canadian lumber to drive up prices for their benefit at the expense of American consumers", Susan Yurkovich told Canadian media during a teleconference call.

The U.S. represented one-third of global lumber imports, with China accounting for 17 per cent. Since then, trade between the two countries has become an increasingly fraught issue, with President Donald Trump seeking to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. During that time, the US and Canadian governments, along with producers in both countries, meant to come up with a new deal.

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