U.S. agency rules against Canada on softwood

Leslie Hanson
December 8, 2017

The U.S. locked in final tariffs on softwood lumber from Canada, ratcheting up economic pressure with a top trading partner and showing the Trump administration's determination to punish what it sees as unfairly traded imports.

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

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.

Both the Window and Door Manufacturers Association and the National Association of Home Builders have urged the USA and Canada to negotiate an end to the softwood lumber dispute, which has the potential to increase the cost of housing, as well as the price of moulding and millwork products.

"As a result of the USITC's affirmative determinations, Commerce will issue antidumping and countervailing duty orders on imports of this product from Canada", a release explaining the ruling said.

Canada and the US continue to negotiate a new softwood trade agreement.

USA mills applauded the decision.

"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", said Jason Brochu, co-chair of the US Lumber Coalition.

That followed the launch by Ottawa last month of a NAFTA trade challenge over the move. Last week, Canada filed a case at the World Trade Organization in response to Commerce's decision to levy the tariffs.

In testimony this week before lawmakers, Canada's chief Nafta negotiator, Steve Verheul, said the softwood dispute between the US and Canada "will continue to be a hard issue" and said it is unlikely a solution will be incorporated in any renegotiated continental trade pact.

The ruling comes amid a growing number of trade disputes between the United States and Canada and is likely to complicate already tense negotiations over Nafta.

Mr. Verheul said this week some of the proposals put forth by the Trump administration on Nafta are "wholly unworkable".

Yurkovich said the U.S. Coalition's claims of injury "ring particularly hollow" given the strong financial performance the U.S. industry is facing and Canadian imports are lower than in 2006 when imports were deemed noninjurious.

The statement followed a unanimous ruling by the USITC earlier on Thursday that Canadian softwood lumber exports had harmed United States producers.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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