Hike to U.S. softwood lumber duties ‘completely unwarranted,’ commerce minister says

The federal authorities has lashed out at the U.S. Commerce Division over plans to elevate duties on Canadian softwood lumber.

Worldwide Commerce Minister Mary Ng says the U.S. has signalled it intends to lift duties to 13.86 per cent, up from 8.05 per cent.

Ng calls the transfer disappointing and fully unwarranted.

It is the newest salvo in a bilateral back-and-forth that Ottawa has described as a drag on efforts to enhance the price and provide of housing.

Final month, Ng vowed to contest a U.S. Worldwide Commerce Fee choice to preserve the duties in place. 

She says Canada will battle the duties by each means obtainable, together with litigation by present commerce agreements, in addition to the World Commerce Group and the U.S. Court docket of Worldwide Commerce. 

WATCH | Canada difficult ‘unwarranted and unfair’ U.S. duties on softwood lumber: 

Canada formally difficult ‘unfair’ U.S. duties on softwood lumber

Canada is formally initiating a problem of what it is deemed ‘unwarranted and unfair’ U.S. duties on Canadian softwood lumber below the U.S.-Mexico-Canada commerce settlement’s dispute decision system.

Canada is “extraordinarily disillusioned” in the newest discovering by the Commerce Division, Ng stated. “This measure is completely unwarranted.”

At the similar time, she stated, the federal authorities stands prepared to negotiate a decision to the dispute that has dogged the Canada-U.S. relationship for many years. 

“We’ll proceed to work carefully with provinces, territories and trade to defend Canadian pursuits by all obtainable avenues,” Ng stated. 

“We stay prepared and prepared to work with the United States towards a negotiated answer that permits for a return to predictable cross-border commerce in softwood lumber.”

Below the U.S. Tariff Act, the Division of Commerce determines whether or not items are being bought at lower than honest worth or in the event that they’re benefiting from subsidies offered by international governments.

In Canada, lumber-producing provinces set so-called stumpage charges for timber harvested from Crown land, a system that U.S. producers — compelled to pay market charges — contemplate an unfair subsidy.

Fresh cut lumber is pictured stacked at a mill.
Recent reduce lumber is pictured stacked at a mill alongside the Stave River in Maple Ridge, B.C. on April 25, 2019. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

Duties ‘hurting Canadians and People alike,’ B.C. says

The B.C. authorities issued an analogous assertion Thursday, saying the Commerce Division choice is “deeply disappointing.” 

“The continued software of unjustified duties on B.C. softwood lumber exports to the U.S. is hurting Canadians and People alike,” stated the joint assertion attributed to Forests Minister Bruce Ralston, Jobs Minister Brenda Bailey, and several other different officers.

“As we work with our trade companions to develop a reliable and sustainable forest trade in B.C., we’re frequently impeded by these tariffs, main to greater costs and unstable markets on each side of the border.”

A white man wearing a purple-tinged coat speaks in front of a glass window.
B.C. Minister of Forestry Bruce Ralston speaks in Vancouver on Aug. 10, 2023. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The vice-president of the B.C. Lumber Commerce Council, Kurt Niquidet, additionally responded to the potential hike in duties, saying the Commerce Division has “departed from sure long-standing methodologies at the urging of U.S. trade.”

“Though these charges are usually not but finalized, they proceed to misrepresent actuality: B.C. and Canadian producers are usually not backed and are usually not dumping in the U.S. market,” the assertion says.

It says the tariffs are rising the price of lumber and constructing supplies south of the border, “at a time when the scarcity of reasonably priced housing is having a extreme influence on households throughout the nation.”

In October, Canada cheered a call by a NAFTA dispute panel that discovered features of how the U.S. calculates the duties are inconsistent with federal legislation. 

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