WASHINGTON - The U.S. Lumber Coalition, a trade group that had been rallying against the extension of the Softwood Lumber Agreement with Canada, came out as expected against the Canadian government's plan to spend C$867-million in subsidies for Canadian softwood producers hurt by newly imposed lumber tariffs.
After the lapse of the Softwood Lumber Agreement last fall, there has been mounting tension on lumber trade between the U.S. and Canada. Though NAFTA - the North American Free Trade Agreement - remains in force, softwood lumber products are not governed by the trade treaty, but through separate, side agreements.
The Canadian government will said it would 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. Canada said it would support domestic producers exporting to the U.S. The new funding adds to existing government subsidies boosting the Canadian softwood lumber industry, creating an uneven playing field with the U.S. lumber industry and putting American jobs at risk.
"Announcement of a new government subsidy for Canadian softwood lumber producers only further tilts the trade scale in Canada's favor, threatening more than 350,000 jobs in communities across the United States," said U.S. Lumber Coalition spokesperson, Zoltan van Heyningen. "The U.S. Commerce Department's recent anti-subsidy duties were a step in the right direction, and we appreciate the Administration's support. But Canada continues to push back and refuses to play by the same set of rules. We need a level playing field and must limit the flow of unfairly subsidized softwood shipments flooding the U.S. market, driving American lumber manufacturers out of business." www.uslumbercoalition.org.