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USA imposes additional tariffs on Canadian lumber as dispute escalates

28 June 2017

Softwood lumber from Canada's Atlantic provinces likely will be exempted from two Washington probes expected to lead to punitive duties, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Monday.

In April, President Donald Trump began collecting duties of between 3 and 24 percent on Canadian lumber exports, retroactive for three months, after the Commerce Department determined in a preliminary investigation that forest products had been unfairly subsidized by Canada's government.

The Department said that, when combined, the applicable duty rates now range from 17.41 percent to 30.88 percent.

"As our government announced earlier this month, we are investing $867 million to support workers and communities affected by these ill-conceived duties, diversify our forest products and global markets, and facilitate access to a range of financial services for our producers on commercial terms".

The rates announced on June 26 by Commerce include: Canfor: 7.72 percent; Resolute: 4.59 percent; Tolko: 7.53 percent; West Fraser: 6.76 percent; All others: 6.87 percent.

"The homebuilders definitely care but for the most part have believed that these costs will be passed along to the end users - in this case, the home buyers", Miller said. A final determination on both the countervailing and antidumping duties is expected by September 6.

Canada supplies about a third of the lumber needed in the U.S. "This has allowed Canadian producers to dump their product on the USA market to the detriment of US manufacturers, as now confirmed by the Department of Commerce". Protectionist duties hurt Canadian companies and communities and also hurt USA consumers who choose to build, buy or renovate a new home, Susan Yurkovich, the council's president, said on a conference call with reporters.

Canadian imports are essential for homebuilding as domestic producers are restricted by U.S. Forestry Service rules and Mr Granger says that red tape should be cut to allow greater production of American timber.

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The duties were imposed in response to petitions filed in November from the U.S. Lumber Coalition.

"The ongoing allegations levelled by the USA industry are without merit".

The United States on Monday slapped a second round of tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber in an escalation of the trade dispute.

"The Government of Canada stands firmly behind the Canadian forest industry".

"These latest US duties will significantly add to the costs that American consumers will have to bear when seeking to fix, renovate and build their homes".

Susan Yurkovich, president of the B.C. Lumber Trade Council, said the latest duty continues efforts of the USA lumber industry to restrict imports and drive up the price of their products.

The battle takes on an added significance this year, as the two countries - along with Mexico - are also renegotiating the 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement.

USA imposes additional tariffs on Canadian lumber as dispute escalates