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American protectionist measures stay in place against Canadian softwood lumber exporters

Five-year dispute continues as U.S. trade commission rules Canadian companies threaten U.S. forestry industry
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(Leith Dunick,

American anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders will remain in place on Canadian softwood lumber exports into the U.S. 

The U.S. international Trade Commission ruled 4-0 in favour of its own forestry sector that “dumped and subsidized lumber imports from Canada continue to be a threat to the U.S. industry.”  

The vote concerned a five-year “sunset review” of duty orders imposed on Canadian softwood exporters dating back to 2017.

According to a news release from the influential U.S. Lumber Coalition, the commission determined that improvements in the U.S. softwood lumber industry; such as increases in production, capital investments, and employment; were related to antidumping and the countervailing duty orders being in place.

Removing those orders against “unfairly traded Canadian imports,” the coalition said, would result in a resumption of dumping at a margin of up to 7.28 per cent and Canadian government subsidization at a rate of up to 19.62 per cent.

“The facts before the International Trade Commission were clear – unfairly traded imports from Canada cause real harm to U.S. producers and workers," said Andrew Miller, Chairman of the U.S. Lumber Coalition and CEO of Stimson Lumber in a statement.

"The ruling by the Commission means the softwood lumber trade cases can continue to help offset Canadian lumber subsidies and dumping, allowing the domestic industry to compete against unfairly traded imports from Canada." 

In 2017, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that Canadian softwood lumber exports had materially injured the U.S. domestic industry. Canadian producers have been subject to counterveiling duties since May of that year.

The Ontario government responded that the commission’s decision “ignores the strong evidence” that Canadian exports do not harm the U.S. industry and Ontario’s criticism that these duties “are unwarranted and unfair.”

“The Ontario government is extremely disappointed by the ITC’s decision, which upholds the 2017 injury determination and maintains antidumping and countervailing duties against Canadian softwood lumber exports to the U.S.,” said a release issued by Ontario Natural Resources and Forestry Minister Graydon Smith and Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Minister Vic Fedeli.

The province said it will evaluate its legal options after consulting with its stakeholders from Ontario’s nearly $21-billion forest sector which provide employment, directly and indirectly, for more than 142,000.


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