USA trade commission rules against Canada on softwood

USA trade commission rules against Canada on softwood

In a 4-0 vote, the agency sided with the U.S. Lumber Coalition, a group representing U.S. lumber producers, and determined that the U.S. lumber industry is "materially injured" by imports of softwood lumber from Canada that according to the U.S. Department of Commerce "are subsidized and sold in the United States at less than fair value". "At the same time, the US and Canada need to hammer out an equitable agreement to resolve this ongoing trade dispute that will provide American consumers a steady supply of lumber at a reasonable price". The ITC finding of "injury", despite the current record-setting profitability of the USA lumber industry, makes it very clear that this was not an objective evaluation of the facts.

"If we were not seeing the same kind of demand and the same kind of high prices we're seeing then we might be in an entirely different type of situation", said Neuheimer.

Demand from USA builders for lumber remains high and the additional cost is wrapped into the cost of new homes in the U.S.

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

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

On Nov. 28, the federal government announced that it Ottawa has requested World Trade Organization consultations with Washingto over anti-dumping and countervailing duties the U.S. Department of Commerce has set on softwood lumber imports from Canada.

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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.

Last month, Canada filed for the creation of an expert panel under Nafta to determine on whether the duties are justified under law.

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.

Any lumber agreement is expected to remain outside of a final NAFTA pact.

More than 95 percent of all imported lumber came from Canada previous year.

An industry committee in 2016 petitioned the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission to look into the softwood lumber trade between the United States and Canada.

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