United States trade group finds Canadian softwood hurts American market

Marco Green
December 8, 2017

The american Commission of worldwide trade (USITC) ruled Thursday that imports of timber in canadian are detrimental to their u.s. competitors. Voting 4-0 in favor of the U.S. lumber industry, the ITC ruling confirms a U.S. Department of Commerce determination that imports of softwood lumber from Canada are sold in the United States at less than fair value and subsidized by the government of Canada.

The U.S. Lumber Coalition, which filed a petition previous year with the Commerce Department to open a case against Canada's softwood lumber industry, praised the decision.

American producers allege that the Canadian industry is subsidized by the provincial and federal governments, while in the USA, prices are set by the market - a situation the US contends is unfair.

WATCH: Trudeau promises to fight for Canadian lumber industry with U.S.

The commission made the decision in a unanimous vote on December 7.

At the beginning of the month of November, the Commerce department imposed countervailing duties means of nearly 21% to producers of softwood lumber canadian.

In November, the Commerce Department issued a final determination to slap hefty tariffs on exports from Canada. The ITC finding of "injury", despite the current record-setting profitability of the US lumber industry, makes it very clear that this was not an objective evaluation of the facts.

Ottawa 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.

Protecting lumber mills is aligned with Mr. Trump's "America first" trade policy, and lawmakers from timber-growing areas of the Southeast and Pacific Northwest have made it clear they support a tough line with Canada to protect American mill workers and timberland owners. Those fees are lower than fees paid on US timber, which comes largely from private land.

Canada and the USA continue to negotiate a new softwood trade agreement.

Any lumber agreement is expected to remain outside of a final NAFTA pact.

The ruling comes amid a growing number of trade disputes between the U.S. and Canada and is likely to complicate already tense negotiations over Nafta.

"As we've discussed throughout this dispute, the imposition by the U.s. of anti-dumping and countervailing punitive damages on the softwood lumber in canada is unjustified and disturbing".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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