U.S. and Canada skirmishing over timber tariffs
U.S.and Canadian Flags

The U.S. Department of Commerce has signaled its intention to significantly increase its duties on softwood lumber from Canada from 8.05% to an estimated 13.86%.

The Commerce Department conducts an annual review of its anti-dumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) orders. Preliminary results from the fifth administrative review of the duty orders were released Feb. 1, 2024. Since the review results are preliminary, they do not take effect. Commerce is expected to issue its final results in summer 2024, at which time they will take effect.

Mary Ng, the Canadian Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development, said Canada was "extremely disappointed."

“U.S. duties on softwood lumber already unjustifiably harm consumers and producers on both sides of the border. Increased duties will further harm the Canadian softwood lumber industry, workers and communities, and make housing even less affordable for Americans.

She said that Canada will continue to work to defend Canadian interests through all available avenues, including litigation under NAFTA, the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement, the U.S. Court of International Trade and at the WTO.

“Canada is confident that an end to these unfair U.S. duties will benefit both countries. We remain ready and willing to work with the United States toward a negotiated solution that allows for a return to predictable cross-border trade in softwood lumber.”

U.S. lumber industry response

“The U.S. Lumber Coalition supports the Commerce Department’s continued commitment to enforce the U.S. trade laws against subsidized and unfairly traded Canadian lumber imports,” stated Andrew Miller, Chairman of the U.S. Lumber Coalition and CEO of Stimson Lumber.  

“The duties simply offset the subsidies that Canadian producers receive from their governments and the Canadian producers’ unfair trade practices,” added Miller, “but they are essential to facilitate free and fair trade, giving U.S. businesses a shot to compete on a level playing field.”

Since the filing of the trade cases by the U.S. industry in 2016, U.S. sawmills have invested and expanded capacity to meet demand to build more American homes. The U.S. industry appears on track to have produced an additional 26 billion board feet of lumber through 2023, averaging 3.7 billion a year of added output.

The U.S. lumber industry established its right to the imposition of antidumping and countervailing duties in the face of unfair competition from Canada, and the industry continues to vigorously defend the existence and enforcement of those duties in all appropriate fora.

The U.S. industry remains open to a new U.S.–Canada softwood lumber trade agreement. Canada’s lumber industry to date has not been able to agree on a unified position to present to the Canadian federal government to request initiation of government-to-government negotiations with the United States. Until this happens, the U.S. Lumber Coalition fully supports the continued strong enforcement of the U.S. trade laws to address Canada’s unfair softwood lumber trade practices.

 


 

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Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).