Canada challenges US on softwood duties

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by Emily Atkins

Canada is launching challenges to “unfair” US duties imposed on softwood umber exports.

In a statement on September 1, Mary Ng, minister of export promotion, international trade and economic development, explained the Canadian position regarding the U.S. fourth administrative reviews on softwood lumber from Canada.

“Canada is a world leader in softwood lumber and has a vast industry creating…jobs for thousands of Canadians and supporting communities across our country.

“For years, the United States has imposed unfair, unjust and illegal duties on Canadian softwood lumber, hurting Canadian industry and creating rising housing costs in both our countries.”

Current U.S. softwood lumber duties have subjected most Canadian softwood lumber exports to the new combined duty rate of 7.99 percent.

“Canada is launching challenges to the latest U.S. countervailing duty determination under (CUSMA) Chapter 10 and to the latest U.S. anti-dumping duty determination before the U.S. Court of International Trade,” Ng said.

“At every opportunity, I have raised the issue of unjustified U.S. duties on Canadian softwood lumber with my U.S. counterpart Katherine Tai, United States Trade Representative, and the need for both countries to find a mutually acceptable resolution to this dispute. Canada continues to remain ready and willing to discuss a negotiated outcome to the dispute that provides the stability and predictability the sector needs to ensure its continued growth and success.”

In the US, the U.S. Lumber Coalition reacted to Ng’s statement, saying it was pleased Canada was taking the dispute to the US Court of International   Trade, rather than requesting a United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) panel for appeals.

“The Coalition has long believed that U.S. courts are the appropriate venue for resolving legal questions around the application of U.S. trade laws, and we are pleased that the Canadian parties have now agreed to pursue their claims before a U.S. judge,” said Andrew Miller, Chairman of the U.S. Lumber Coalition and CEO of Stimson Lumber.

“While the Coalition is continuing to evaluate its own issues for appeal, we look forward to defending the Department of Commerce’s antidumping determination as consistent with U.S. law,” added Miller.

The Coalition staid in a statement that the U.S. industry remains open to a new U.S.- Canada softwood lumber trade agreement “if and when Canada can demonstrate that it is serious about negotiations for an agreement that addresses Canada’s unfair trade practices which are harming U.S. producers, workers, and timberland holders”.