ITC Confirms Tariffs Against Canadian Softwood Lumber

THE CANADIAN PRESS

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"The U.S. Coalition's claims of injury ring particularly hollow given the extraordinary financial performance that the U.S. lumber industry is enjoying, and given that Canadian imports are at a lower level today than at the levels deemed non-injurious under both the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement and by the ITC itself in the last round of litigation".

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.

A USA trade panel on Thursday unanimously ruled to uphold hefty duties on Canada's softwood lumber industry saying the US industry has been harmed by unfair practices.

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

"We are confident that this latest decision by the ITC will again be reversed".

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"Imports of underpriced, subsidized Canadian softwood lumber have hurt American mills, millworkers and rural communities in OR and across the country", Wyden said.

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

The Trump administration has repeatedly vowed to punish countries they say violate trade rules to the detriment of the United States.

In November, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that it would seek to impose average tariffs of around 20.8 percent on imports of Canadian softwood lumber.

Canada has already challenged the USA lumber tariffs through two global dispute-settlement procedures, calling the duties "unfair, unwarranted and deeply troubling".

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Canada and the US continue to negotiate a new softwood trade agreement. Canada also kicked off a process to challenge the tariffs at the World Trade Organization, the global trade arbiter that is under increasing pressure from the Trump administration.

The disagreement centers on the fees paid by Canadian lumber mills for timber cut largely from government-owned land.

Any lumber agreement is expected to remain outside of a final NAFTA pact. Canadian producers paid about $500 million in deposits for the duties thus far, with more to come in 2018 if there is no settlement.

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

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