The Honourable Mary Ng, minister of small business, export promotion and international trade, says newly reduced duties on softwood lumber imported to the United States are “a step in the right direction,” but added any additional fees are “unwarranted and unfair.”
The comments came after the first administrative review by the U.S. Department of Commerce of U.S. anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders on certain softwood lumber products from Canada.
“Canada’s forestry sector supports hundreds of thousands of good, middle-class jobs for Canadians in communities across the country, and we will always vigorously defend their interests,” Ng said.
“Canada strongly disagrees with this decision which will result in higher duties for Resolute Forest Products, a company that employs thousands of hard-working people in Quebec and Ontario.
“Canada expects the United States to comply with its WTO and CUSMA obligations, and drop their baseless duties on Canadian softwood lumber.
“These duties have caused unjustified harm to Canadian businesses and workers, as well as U.S. consumers.
“We will continue to press our American counterparts to rescind this unfair and unwarranted trade action. We remain confident that a negotiated settlement is not only possible, but in the interests of both our countries.”
The U.S. Department of Commerce has set a new duty rate of 8.9 per cent on average after completing its first administrative review on softwood lumber imports from Canada.
The new rate is down from the original 20.2 per cent average duty imposed in 2017 by the U.S., which alleged Canada was both unfairly subsidizing its industry and then dumping wood into the U.S. at unfair prices.
“While reduction in tariffs for some Canadian producers is a step in the right direction, Canada is disappointed that the United States continues to impose unwarranted and unfair duties on Canadian softwood lumber,” Ng said.
In 2016, imports of softwood lumber from Canada were valued at an estimated $5.66 billion (U.S.)