WASHINGTON - More delays: the U.S. has postponed the decision regarding duties on softwood lumber imports from Canada.
 
The U.S. Department of Commerce will postpone its final determination for antidumping and countervailing duties on Canadian softwood lumber until Nov. 14 at the latest, the department said Monday in a statement. The decision will come much later than the originally anticipated date - the first week of September.

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“I remain hopeful that we can reach a negotiated solution that satisfies the concerns of all parties,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in the statement. “This extension could provide the time needed to address the complex issues at hand and to reach an equitable and durable suspension agreement.”
 
Wilbur's statement indicated that the postponement is a result of the "complexity" of the investigations and ongoing discussions.
 
It is allowable under U.S. law for the Department of Commerce to postpone a final determination on anti-dumping duty for a total of 135 days after the publication of a preliminary determination. 
 
Tensions have been escalating over the dispute since April, when the Trump Administration imposed preliminary countervailing duties of as much as 24 percent on Canadian imports. Canada disagreed strongly.
 
Some analysts say prospects for an accord are no longer likely. Last week, David MacNaughton, Canada's Ambassador to the U.S., said Canada is prepared to sue the U.S. should trade negotiations fail, Bloomberg News reported.
 
The Softwood Lumber Agreement between the United States and Canada expired on October 12, 2015.
 
The Canadian government will give C$867 million (US$642.2 million) in financial support to Canadian lumber producers and exporters to help them withstand the impact of new U.S. tariffs on Canadian softwood exports.
 
In April, Washington imposed preliminary anti-subsidy duties averaging around 20 percent on imports of Canadian softwood lumber. Canada thinks the duties are unfair.
 
"Canadian workers are under pressure because of duties which are unfair and punitive," said Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland.