Published: Fri, December 08, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

U.S. finds Canada lumber harms USA producers, duties to remain

U.S. finds Canada lumber harms USA producers, duties to remain

The American producers maintain Canadian lumber firms are subsidized because the land from which timber is taken is Crown-owned, meaning it belongs to the provincial governments, whereas most forests in the US are under private ownership.

Canada's lumber producers were burned again Thursday when the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) unanimously agreed the American industry has been hurt by subsidized Canadian softwood imports.

American producers allege that the Canadian industry is subsidized by the provincial and federal governments, while in the US, prices are set by the market - a situation the USA contends is unfair.

In a 4-0 vote Thursday, the agency sided with the USA lumber coalition that it was materially injured by imports from Canada.

"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.

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

The Trump administration has repeatedly vowed to punish countries they say violate trade rules to the detriment of the United States.

The U.S. Lumber Coalition, an industry lobby group that petitioned the U.S. Commerce Department a year ago to open a dumping and subsidy investigation, lauded the decision.

In November, the Commerce Department issued a final determination to slap hefty tariffs on exports from Canada.

"Sorry U.S., that's not going to happen", Resolute's Seth Kursman told Canadian media in an interview from Washington, D.C.

The 4-0 decision comes after the US Commerce Department failed to reach an agreement in the long-running trade dispute last month.

The disagreement centers on the fees paid by Canadian lumber mills for timber cut largely from government-owned land.

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

Any lumber agreement is expected to remain outside of a final NAFTA pact. They slapped the tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber imports, which totaled about $5.66 billion a year ago.

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.

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