Canada's Trudeau say US timber duties will cost 'thousands' of jobs

The U.S. Department of Commerce is imposing new anti-dumping duties, assigning specific rates for three major producers based in British Columbia: Canfor Corp. will pay 7.72 per cent; Tolko Industries Ltd. 7.53 per cent and West Fraser Timber Co.

The Trump administration escalated its lumber trade tiff with Canada, adding a new layer of duties on imports from its northern neighbor, even as it said it still hopes to negotiate a settlement before the full bite of the penalties is felt. When combined with countervailing duties rolled out in April, duties on Canadian lumber will range from 30.88% to 17.41%. Canada, which denies it subsidizes producers, said earlier this month it would give C$867 million ($654 million) in aid to the domestic industry.

Its preliminary duties were 7.72 percent for Canfor Corp and related firms, 4.59 percent for Resolute FP Canada, 7.53 percent for Tolko Industries, 6.76 percent for West Fraser Mills and 6.87 percent for all others.

The Trump administration has accused Canada of unfairly selling its lumber in the USA below production costs, aided in part by improper government subsidies - a trade practice known as "dumping".

Before it elapsed, that deal had removed antidumping and countervailing duties from Canadian softwood lumber imports and required US producers to give back some of the revenue collected previously. A final determination on both the countervailing and antidumping duties is expected by September 6.

USA lumber companies claim that Canada charges artificially low fees for trees.

Montreal-based Resolute continues to believe producers in Ontario and Quebec should have free access to the US market.

Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island are being spared from both rounds of tariffs America has imposed since late April - marking Canada's fifth softwood lumber-related tussle with the USA since the 1980s.

She reinforced again, as she did after countervailing duties were imposed in April, that the US produced 32 billion board feet of lumber in 2016, well below the 47 billion board feet it consumed.

The United States on Monday slapped a second round of tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber in an escalation of the trade dispute. That is because most of the trees in Canada are on publicly owned land, in contrast to the United States, where most timber is on private property and companies pay market rates to harvest it, US producers say.

The duties were imposed in response to petitions filed in November from the U.S. Lumber Coalition. In June, the Canadian government announced it would provide almost $1 billion in additional subsidies to the Canadian softwood lumber industry.

"The ongoing allegations levelled by the USA industry are without merit".

"The ongoing allegations leveled by the US industry are without merit", Yurkovich said. "This was proven in the last round of litigation and we fully expect it will be again".

  • Joe Gonzales