New Brunswick sawmills request exemption from duties

November 6, 2017

By: The Working Forest Staff

FREDERICTON, N.B. – The New Brunswick Lumber Producers have called on their government to secure an exemption for New Brunswick from duties on softwood lumber imports to the United States. Producers in other Atlantic provinces have received an exemption from the duties announced on Nov. 2, when the U.S. Department of Commerce made its final determination regarding Canadian imports.

“There is no good news for any sawmill in NB with today’s announcement and the 20.83 per cent disadvantage that we now face compared to other Atlantic Canadian producers,” reads the NBLP statement.

New Brunswick sawmills (excluding J.D. Irving, Ltd.) will pay 14.25 per cent countervailing duties plus 6.58 per cent in anti-dumping duties for a total of 20.83 per cent.  Because J.D. Irving, Limited was the only Canadian producer to volunteer for a review by the Department of Commerce during the CVD proceedings, the company will pay 3.34 per cent CVD and 6.58 per cent ADD for a total of 9.92 per cent in duty. 

The producers group said the province should act immediately to secure an expedited review for New Brunswick softwood sawmills.

NBLP believes the JDI rate confirms that all New Brunswick lumber producers should be excluded from these trade remedy proceedings.

“This is the first time in the history of the U.S. softwood lumber trade negotiations that the Province of New Brunswick has not been exempt,” reads the statement. 

NBLP states that reports with “contain inaccurate and unfounded conclusions” are being used by the U.S. Coalition against the New Brunswick industry. As per testimony before US trade proceedings on August 18, 2017, the province’s Washington lawyer, William Barringer, stated:

“Thus the change in treatment of New Brunswick essentially comes down to an auditor general’s report which speculated, without providing any hard conclusions, that there may be some distortion in the New Brunswick market which might make [softwood sawlog] prices higher or lower than they might otherwise be.”  

NBLP requests that the New Brunswick government immediately address the speculative comments about market distortion. 

The 10 member sawmills of NBLP represent 95 per cent of softwood lumber production in New Brunswick.

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