U.S. cuts some tariffs on Canadian lumber import

THE CANADIAN PRESS

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"A reliable source of softwood lumber products from B.C. and Canada will benefit the US housing industry and American home-buyers".

Most Canadian producers, however, will pay a combined countervailing and anti-dumping rate of 20.83 per cent, down from 26.75 per cent that the Commerce Department imposed earlier in the year.

"This decision is based on a full and unbiased review of the facts in an open and transparent process that defends American workers and businesses from unfair trade practices", Ross said.

The US is still planning to impose stiff duties on several Canadian firms who the Americans say were selling lumber into the US market below fair value, claiming the Canadian government was providing them with unfair subsidies.

The United States Department of Commerce has announced its final determination of duties of 20.83% to be applied to the majority of Canadian softwood lumber shipments entering the U.S.

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The ministers said: "We urge the US Administration to rescind these duties, which harm workers and communities in Canada". "These duties are a tax on the American middle-class families, too, whose homes, renovations and repairs will only be more expensive". "Further, it is clear the tariffs are worsening the lumber supply problem in the United States and forcing USA home builders to look overseas to meet their demand for lumber".

Nova Scotia has been collaborating with industry, Ottawa and US officials since the expiry of the previous Softwood Lumber Agreement in October 2015, to explain why the exclusion should be maintained.

The decision affirmed a preliminary action taken by the Commerce Department in April. The announcement prompted Canada to threaten litigation through the North American Free Trade Agreement or the World Trade Organization. In August, Commerce said that it was delaying the final determinations in the hope that a negotiated settlement could be reached.

Last year, the United States imported about $5 billion worth of lumber of Canada.

The U.S. Commerce Department decided on the tariff reduction unilaterally because the two countries could not reach a mutually satisfactory deal.

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Members of the province's softwood lumber industry are breathing easier today after news that the United States department of commerce decided Newfoundland and Labrador would be excluded from any tariffs. But Mr. Ross swiftly dropped the idea after speaking with USA industry.

The decision is likely to further escalate tensions between the United States and Canada during hard negotiations between the United States, Canada and Mexico to modernize NAFTA. Canadian-based companies also own about a third of the lumber production in the U.S. Southeast, where most American lumber is grown and milled.

The talks, however, deadlocked over whether Canada would be able to exceed its cap in the event USA companies could not produce enough to meet the rest of the demand. "But we were very pleased, early on, that the USA industry recognized that this was a marketplace industry in the province. and that they recognized it early was positive for us". All other exporters will pay 21%.

"This trade action is being driven by the protectionist United States lumber lobby, whose sole objective is to constrain imports of high-quality Canadian lumber and to drive up lumber prices for their own benefit", said Susan Yurkovich, president of the BC Lumber Trade Council.

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