Canada Disappointed with Final US Softwood Lumber Tax, Trade Minister Says | The Canadian News

International Trade Minister Mary Ng and BC lumber producers say they are disappointed that the US Department of Commerce has decided to increase tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber producers.

The US government said Wednesday that its final combined antidumping and countervailing duty rate for most Canadian producers will be 17.9 percent.

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That’s slightly below the preliminary rate of 18.32 percent issued in May, but double the initial rate of 8.99 percent.

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Ng called on the US to stop imposing “these unjustified duties” that hurt Canadian communities, businesses and workers while increasing housing and renovation costs for American consumers.

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Final rates for four Canadian producers have been reduced slightly from May. The final rate for Canfor Corp. is 19.54 percent, compared to 21.04 percent; West Fraser Timber Co. Inc. is 11.12 percent, down from 11.38 percent; Resolute Forest Products Inc. is 29.66 percent, down from 30.22 percent; and JD Irving is 15 percent, down from 15.82 percent.

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The BC Lumber Board of Trade says the final rates are not unexpected, but remain disappointing, especially as US producers cannot keep up with domestic demand.

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“Our great hope is that the American industry will end this decades-long litigation and instead work with us to meet the demand for low-carbon wood products that the world wants, including American families,” stated the board chair Susan Yurkovich.

“Until then, we will continue to vigorously defend our industry against these meritless allegations.”

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Ng said the Canadian government will continue to defend the softwood industry, including through litigation under Chapter 10 of CUSMA’s trade agreement with Canada, the United States and Mexico, Chapter 19 of NAFTA and the World Trade Organization.

“Every step of the way, the resolutions have found Canada to be a fair trading partner,” he said in a press release.

“Canada has always been willing to explore ideas that will enable a return to predictable cross-border softwood lumber trade and is confident that a negotiated solution to this long-standing trade problem is in the best interest of workers in our two countries.”

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Alberta’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development Nate Horner said the higher tariffs are completely unacceptable.

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“Any amount of tariffs is unfairly targeting our softwood exports and these decreasing and then increasing rates create uncertainty on both sides of the border,” he said in a press release.

Horner said the United States is a critical customer with 91 percent of softwood exports worth $ 1.2 billion to the south.

Conservative MPs say the softwood tariffs show that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise of a renewed relationship with the United States is failing.

“Instead, we got an electric vehicle tax credit that threatens Canadian car manufacturing, strict US purchasing policies, measures targeting agricultural producers, and actions against pipelines, all contributing to skyrocketing energy prices. And now the United States is targeting Canada again by doubling tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber, “said Michael Chong, a foreign affairs critic, and Randy Hoback, an international trade critic.

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