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Softwood duties take effect, legal challenges underway

January 4, 2018

By: The Working Forest Staff

Anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Canadian lumber imported to the U.S. went into effect on Jan. 3. The duties are the latest step in the ongoing trade dispute of over softwood lumber.

Bloomberg reports that the U.S. Department of Commerce slightly lowered its previously-announced rates. “Wednesday’s anti-dumping duties cut Canfor’s rate to 7.3 per cent from 8.9 per cent; maintained the rate for Resolute, Tolko and West Fraser; and cut the rate for all other companies to 6 per cent from 6.6 per cent. Countervailing duties were cut for West Fraser to 18 per cent from 18.2 per cent. The rates for Resolute, Tolko, Canfor and JD Irving Ltd. were unchanged, while the rate for “all others” was cut to 14.2 per cent from 14.3 per cent. The changes were made after the department agreed with company allegations that “ministerial errors” were made in earlier calculations.”

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, issued a statement on Jan. 3, reiterating the Canadian government’s position that the U.S. duties on Canadian softwood lumber are “unfair, unwarranted and troubling.”

“They are harmful to Canada’s lumber producers, workers and communities, and they add to the cost of home building, renovations and other projects for American middle-class families,” the statement continues.

The Canadian government has already begun legal challenges of these duties under NAFTA and through the World Trade Organization, where Canadian litigation has proven successful in the past.

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