US Panel Locks in Final Tariffs on Canadian Softwood Lumber

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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.

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. Coalition's claims of injury ring particularly hollow given the extraordinary financial performance that the U.S. lumber industry is enjoying, and given that Canadian imports are at a lower level today than at the levels deemed non-injurious under both the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement and by the ITC itself in the last round of litigation".

"Now, with a level playing field, the USA lumber industry, and the 350,000 hardworking men and women who support it, can have the chance to compete fairly", Brochu said.

"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". However, the U.S. International Trade Commission did not find critical circumstances in the anti-dumping case, therefore retroactive anti-dumping duties do not apply.

The Department of Commerce will now issue antidumping and countervailing duty orders on such imports from Canada, the commission said.

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The Canadian government, which has denied the dumping and subsidy charges, last week formally opened a case against the United States at the World Trade Organization over the Commerce Department's decision to impose the duties.

The disagreement centers on the fees paid by Canadian lumber mills for timber cut largely from government-owned land.

The tariff will average 20.83 percent on Canadian lumber imports, which are used mostly for home building in the United States. Those fees are lower than fees paid on US timber, which comes largely from private land.

About half of Canada's softwood lumber exports to the US originate from British Columbia and the U.S.is British Columbia's largest market for softwood lumber products.

However the value of those imports went up very slightly - 0.15 per cent - because even though less wood was shipped, each piece of lumber was worth more.

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