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B.C. minister: Duty on softwood lumber exports to U.S. ‘unjustified

Combined duty rates that will apply to most softwood lumber exports is 7.99 %
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B.C. ministers stress that U.S. duties are hurting people on both sides of shared border, increasing material costs for Americans and creating uncertainty for B.C. forestry professionals and communities. Photo: Unsplash

The province and federal government are vehemently objecting to the latest U.S. ruling on softwood lumber exports.

Bruce Ralston, B.C. Minister of Forests, and Jagrup Brar, Minister of State for Trade, issued a joint statement Friday in response to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s final determination in its fourth administrative review regarding countervailing and antidumping duties applied to Canada’s softwood lumber exports to the United States.

“We strongly disagree with the United States Department of Commerce’s claims,” the ministers stated in a July 28 release.

The federal and B.C. governments have been clear and adamant from the outset: duties on B.C. and Canadian softwood lumber exports to the U.S. are unjustified, they said.

“British Columbia’s 52,000 hard-working forest industry workers deserve better than these unwarranted barriers to their prosperity, and we will continue to fight against these duties.”

B.C. is building a forestry sector focused on sustainability, and continues to provide markets around the world with the highest-quality timber, they said.

”However, U.S. duties are hurting people on both sides of our shared border, increasing material costs for Americans and creating uncertainty for forestry professionals and communities here at home.”

Forestry is a foundational industry in B.C., and we will always stand firm against any unfair actions taken against our forestry workers, the ministers stated.

“This includes relentlessly pursuing our claim through all available avenues, including under the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement, and the World Trade Organization.

“We continue to work with the federal government, provincial partners and our forest industry, and we are determined to see a just outcome for B.C.’s forest sector.”

Duty rates

The U.S. Department of Commerce conducts an annual review of anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders. The annual review process is similar to the process for initial investigations but applies only to companies that are subject to review.

The new combined “all others” duty rate that will apply to most softwood lumber exports is 7.99 per cent, compared to the previous rate of 8.59 per cent from the third administrative reviews.

These new rates will apply on a going-forward basis to exports of softwood lumber products to the United States from companies that were subject to the fourth administrative reviews.

In addition, these new anti-dumping and countervailing duty rates will apply retroactively to softwood lumber exports to the United States made in calendar year 2021 from companies that were subject to the fourth administrative reviews.

Federal opposition

“Canada is very disappointed that the United States continues to impose unwarranted and unfair duties on Canadian softwood lumber,” Mary Ng, federal minister of export, trade and economic development stated Friday.

“The only fair outcome would be for the United States to cease applying these baseless duties.”

She said Canada will continue to vigorously defend its softwood lumber industry and the entrepreneurs, workers and communities it supports.

“Duties on Canadian softwood lumber unjustifiably harm Canadian businesses and communities,” Ng stressed.

“They also amount to a punitive tax on U.S. businesses that need Canadian lumber, which hampers their ability to grow and to create U.S. jobs.”

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Sheri Regnier

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