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ITC Confirms Tariffs Against Canadian Softwood Lumber

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Trade Commission sides with US on softwood lumber dispute

The U.S. lumber coalition position is that Canada unfairly subsidizes its producers with low stumpage fees for harvesting trees on government land and that Canadian producers are selling wood into the U.S.at lower prices than they sell it at home. Voting 4-0 in favor of the U.S. lumber industry, the ITC ruling confirms a U.S. Department of Commerce determination that imports of softwood lumber from Canada are sold in the United States at less than fair value and subsidized by the government of Canada.

The United States International Trade Commission has found the importing of Canadian softwood lumber has hurt the USA market.

American producers allege that the Canadian industry is subsidized by the provincial and federal governments, while in the US, prices are set by the market - a situation the USA contends is unfair.

"Now, with a level playing field, the USA lumber industry, and the 350,000 hardworking men and women who support it, can have the chance to compete fairly", Brochu said.

"Imports of underpriced, subsidized Canadian softwood lumber have hurt American mills, millworkers and rural communities in OR and across the country", Wyden said.

The commission made the decision in a unanimous vote on December 7.

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The US first slapped hefty tariffs on the import of Canadian softwood lumber, a common construction material used in homebuilding, in April.

There is a lot at stake because if the tariffs remain, it could lead to industry layoffs in Canada where about 360,000 were employed in the lumber industry in 2013, Statistics Canada reported.

"Sorry U.S., that's not going to happen", Resolute's Seth Kursman told Canadian media in an interview from Washington, D.C. Last week, Canada filed a case at the World Trade Organization in response to Commerce's decision to levy the tariffs. Those fees are lower than fees paid on US timber, which comes largely from private land.

Canada and the US continue to negotiate a new softwood trade agreement. Canadian producers paid about $500 million in deposits for the duties thus far, with more to come in 2018 if there is no settlement.

In 2016, imports of softwood lumber from Canada were valued at an estimated $5.66 billion.

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