U.S. trade body rules Canadian softwood hurts USA industry

Alicia Farmer
Декабря 8, 2017

In a 4-0 vote Thursday, the agency sided with the USA lumber coalition that it was materially injured by imports from Canada.

In turn, Ottawa has accused Washington of protectionist trade measures following a ruling by the US International Trade Commission (USITC) that authorizes permanent duties on imports of Canadian softwood lumber, according to a statement from Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland.

The United States International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled today that the USA lumber industry is materially injured by Canadian government subsidies of its softwood lumber industry.

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

"Now, with a level playing field, the USA lumber industry, and the 350,000 hardworking men and women who support it, can have the chance to compete fairly", Brochu said.

A trade group for the U.S. lumber industry, one of the organisations that sought an investigation, welcomed the decision.

"Imports of underpriced, subsidized Canadian softwood lumber have hurt American mills, millworkers and rural communities in OR and across the country", Wyden said. International Trade Commission unanimously voted that Canadian exports have harmed the American lumber industry.

This means Canadian producers will pay antidumping and countervailing duties on any softwood exported to the U.S.

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The Canadian government has denied taking actions to prop up the industry to the detriment of the US industry.

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.

The dispute is expected to further add to tensions between the US and Canada, which are in the midst of negotiating, with Mexico, a rewrite of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Canada has said the tariffs were determined using flawed methodology.

Canada is challenging the duties under both the North American Free Trade Agreement and at the World Trade Organization.

Trade data from the United States Department of Agriculture shows the amount of Canadian softwood imported fell eight per cent for first nine months of 2017, compared with the same period in 2016.

The decision will impose anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties affecting about $5.66 billion worth of lumber and comes amid increasingly acrimonious talks on renegotiating NAFTA, the trilateral trade pact between the United States, Canada and Mexico.

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