Minister of International Trade Mary Ng participates in a news conference on the Canada-United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement in Ottawa, on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. The federal government says American duties on Canadian softwood lumber exports continue to be “unfair” and “unjustified,” even if they have been reduced. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Minister of International Trade Mary Ng participates in a news conference on the Canada-United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement in Ottawa, on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. The federal government says American duties on Canadian softwood lumber exports continue to be “unfair” and “unjustified,” even if they have been reduced. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Despite reduction, Canada calls U.S. softwood lumber duties ‘unfair,’ ‘unjustified’

U.S. producers have long taken issue with Canada’s system of provincially regulated stumpage fees

The federal government says American duties on Canadian softwood lumber exports continue to be “unfair” and “unjustified,” even if they have been reduced.

An administrative review by the U.S. Department of Commerce imposes countervailing duties of nearly nine per cent on certain Canadian exporters, down from just over 20 per cent.

It’s the latest salvo in one of the most persistent trade irritants between Canada and the United States, a dispute that has been raging for nearly 40 years.

The lower rate appears to be the result of a World Trade Organization decision in August that found Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission were wrong to impose the original duties in 2017.

International Trade Minister Mary Ng acknowledged the lower tariffs as a step in the right direction, but insisted they remain baseless and unfair.

Ng says the government will continue to seek a negotiated settlement and defend the interests of Canadian forestry companies and workers.

“While reduction in tariffs for some Canadian producers is a step in the right direction, Canada is disappointed that the United States continues to impose unwarranted and unfair duties on Canadian softwood lumber,” she said in a statement Tuesday evening.

“These duties have caused unjustified harm to Canadian businesses and workers, as well as U.S. consumers.”

U.S. producers have long taken issue with Canada’s system of provincially regulated stumpage fees, which are paid to the Crown in exchange for the right to harvest timber.

They say the system unfairly subsidizes an industry which in the U.S. is privately owned and operated, with pricing set by the competitive marketplace.

Canadian lumber exports play a critical role in the U.S., where demand for wood products used in construction significantly outstrips the domestic supply.

The U.S. Lumber Coalition, a champion of countervailing duties against Canada, noted in a statement that the August decision by the WTO is being appealed — although the U.S. has effectively hamstrung the world body’s dispute resolution panel by refusing to appoint new members.

“It is absolutely imperative that these flawed WTO recommendations are not allowed to undermine in any way the continued enforcement of the trade laws,” executive director Zoltan van Heyningen said in a statement.

“The WTO case is far from over, and as such, it must not be allowed to influence the ongoing process and the results of the second administrative review.”

READ MORE: Lumber hitting record-high prices as supply lags behind demand

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

softwood lumber

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A worker is seen throwing a chicken in an undercover video in 2017 filmed by California-based animal rights activists Mercy For Animals.
Fraser Valley chicken abuse trial delayed until February

Originally scheduled for a jury trial, Sofina and Chilliwack company now face judge alone

Sheriff Avory Chapman was last seen Jan. 20 on Wellington Avenue in Chilliwack. (RCMP)
RCMP look for missing man last seen in downtown Chilliwack

21-year-old Sheriff Avory Chapman has been missing since Jan. 20

Chilliwack Law Courts. (Black Press file)
Man sentenced to 20 months for sexual interference in Mission

Will Laws Clark was 22 and victim was 13 at time offences began

Abbotsford youngster Hudson Poittris is hoping to raise money to provide students at his school friendship bracelets. (Submitted)
VIDEO: Abbotsford youth launches GoFundMe for friendship bracelets

Hudson Poittris, nine, hopes bracelets will increase inclusivity and kindness

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
COVID-19 outbreak declared over at Menno Home in Abbotsford

Long-term care home had 67 cases and 13 deaths since mid-November

Rose Sawka, 91, waves to her son through the window of a care home in Prince Rupert in October. Residents of the care home received their first vaccine dose Jan. 20. (K-J Millar/The Northern View)
B.C. care home visitor access to expand by March, Dix says

Staff, residents, essential visitors top priorities for vaccine

ICBC has seen savings on crash and injury claims in the COVID-19 pandemic, with traffic on B.C. roads reduced. (Penticton Western News)
ICBC opens online calculator for rate savings starting in May

Bypassing courts expected to save 20% on average

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
16% boom predicted for B.C. real estate sales in 2021: experts

Along with sales, the average price of homes is also predicted to rise, by nearly 8 percent

The trial of Harry Richardson began Monday at the Nelson courthouse. File photo
Trial of man accused of shooting RCMP officer in West Kootenay in 2019 begins

Harry Richardson is facing five charges in a Nelson courtroom

FILE – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks at a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine CEO ‘very, very clear’ that Canada’s contracts will be honoured: Trudeau

Trudeau says he spoke to Moderna CEO on the morning of Jan. 26

Brad Windsor has been an advocate for years to get sidewalks installed along Milburn Drive in Colwood, but to no avail. He wants city council to commit to making Milburn a priority lane for sidewalk construction in the future. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Dramatic crash caught on B.C. home security camera

Angry residents say video highlights need for sidewalks in B.C. residential neighbourhood

An independent review is underway at the Royal BC Museum after employees called out systemic, individual racism at the institution. (Twitter/RBCM)
Royal BC Museum faces allegations of systemic racism, toxic work environment

Formal investigation, survey and training launched at museum

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

In this May 23, 2012, file photo, an approximately 2-year-old female cougar runs away from a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife trap after being released northeast of Arlington, Wash. A cougar has attacked and severely mauled a man in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mark Mulligan/The Daily Herald via AP
Cougar euthanized in B.C. after severely mauling a man north of Vancouver

Whistler RCMP officers were first on the scene and shot and killed a cougar prowling nearby

Most Read