U.S. International Trade Commission says Canadian softwood lumber caused harm

Canadian softwood producers say duties would result in job losses and plant closures

The U.S. International Trade Commission says it has found there was a reasonable indication that softwood lumber products from Canada materially injured American producers, setting the stage for the imposition of preliminary duties that softwood producers fear could impact Canadian jobs.

The trade commission announced Friday that it made an initial determination of harm from Canadian lumber that is “allegedly subsidized and sold in the United States at less than fair value.”

It said the U.S. Commerce Department will continue anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations launched Dec. 16 into the imported products.

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Canada/U.S. softwood lumber trade dispute

Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson has issued the following statement today in response to a ruling by the U.S. International Trade Commission:

“The U.S. International Trade Commission today has announced a finding of ‘injury.’ As a result the U.S. Department of Commerce will continue its investigation into Canada and Canadian softwood lumber producers for what can only be described as unfounded allegations of unfair trade practices.

“These are allegations that, time after time, have been proven to be false before NAFTA and World Trade Organization tribunals. B.C.’s forest policies are trade compliant. This issue can be resolved only with a fair, negotiated trade agreement with the United States, not more litigation. Despite numerous discussions during 2016 between Canada and the U.S., attempts to reach an agreement were unsuccessful.

“With forecast for continued increase in U.S. housing starts, the U.S. needs our lumber and penalties only hurt housing affordability for middle-class Americans by raising building costs. It is in the best interest of both sides to quickly come to terms on a deal and get back to focusing on growing our respective economies rather than wasting time, energy and resources in costly litigation.

“That said, British Columbia is prepared to fight, alongside Canada, on behalf of British Columbians and the 140 communities that rely on the forest sector. We are confident we will win yet again.”