USA slaps tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber

USA slaps tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber

USA slaps tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber

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

"While I am disappointed that a negotiated agreement could not be made between domestic and Canadian softwood producers, the committed to free, fair and reciprocal trade with Canada", Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said.

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

US lumber interests backed the decision for a tariff averaging 20.83 percent on Canadian lumber imports.

The department said it had determined that Canadian exporters have sold softwood lumber to the United States at 3.2-8.89% less than fair value. "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".

Top Canadian officials called the tariffs "unfair, unwarranted and deeply troubling" and asked for them to be reversed.

Last night, USA commerce department announced final countervailing duties (CVD) on imports of softwood lumber from Canada.

"We will forcefully defend Canada's lumber industry, including through litigation, and we expect to prevail as we have in the past", the Canadian statement read.

"The U.S. continues to attack its closest friend, neighbour and ally while domestically the U.S. lumber coalition continues to put the interest of its members ahead of what is good for the American economy and American consumers", said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology.

Lumber shipments are not part of North American free-trade agreement, though the long-running softwood fight factors into one of the most controversial elements of the bilateral agreement - NAFTA's Chapter 19, which sets up trade panels to settle disputes.

"This decision to uphold the imposition of tariffs is a major setback for the Canadian forestry sector, including tens of thousands of Canadian workers and communities with remaining mills", said Bob Matters, USW Wood Council Chairperson, representing 40,000 workers across the country.

Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Kerrville, Texas, said the Commerce Department decision could not "come at a worse time".

US and Canadian officials have been working for months with industry representatives to come to an agreement to avoid the tariffs announced Thursday, which if permanently imposed will add a duty of around 20% or more, depending on the Canadian mill. It also determined that Canada is providing unfair subsidies to its producers at rates of 3.34 to 18.19 per cent.

The Department of Commerce announced Thursday its final subsidy determination for softwood lumber from Canada, finding final subsidy margins averaging 14.25 percent.

The U.S. International Trade Commission has 45 days to issue its final determination on whether the American lumber industry suffered harm.

"This tariff only adds to the burden by harming housing affordability and artificially boosting the price 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".

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