From January 20, 2017, through November 1, 2017, Commerce has initiated 77 antidumping and countervailing duty investigations - a 61 percent increase from 48 in the previous year.
The US Commerce Department on Thursday affirmed findings that Canadian softwood lumber producers had unfairly subsidized and dumped product on the US market, saying efforts to negotiate a resolution had failed.
"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.
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If the decision announced Thursday is approved by the International Trade Commission in December, Canadian companies would have to pay an average 20 percent tariff on the value of softwood delivered to us customers. Canadian unions and lumber companies fear the issue will eventually cause layoffs once prices and demand fall.
"Unfortunately it's the narrow interest of a few greedy lumber barons in the southern United States that has led to this impasse", British Columbia Premier John Horgan said. This includes a final CVD rate of 14.25%, which is the weighted average of the duty rates assessed on the five companies, and a final AD rate of 6.58%, which is the weighted average of the four chosen companies (Canfor, Resolute, Tolko, and West Fraser).
"As we have consistently said, these duties are unwarranted and this trade action is completely without merit", said Susan Yurkovich, president of the B.C. Lumber Trade Council.
One source with knowledge of the softwood discussions said the impediment to a deal was the USA lumber industry, which appeared to prefer hitting Canada with tariffs than agreeing to a negotiated settlement.
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"We are pleased the U.S. government is enforcing our trade laws so that the U.S. lumber industry can compete on a level playing field", U.S. Lumber Coalition co-chairman Jason Brochu wrote in an email statement.
The softwood lumber duties are a double-whammy for the USA housing sector, which is expected to have mortgage interest deductibility on new home purchases capped at US$500,000 during the federal tax overhaul. But its demands - which range from requiring that more auto production be made in the U.S.to having more government contracts in the NAFTA bloc go to US companies - will likely be unacceptable to the U.S.' two other NAFTA partners, Canada and Mexico.
"This tariff only adds to the burden by harming housing affordability and artificially boosting the price of lumber", Granger said.
That ruling also included Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island lumber producers. "These duties are a tax on the American middle-class families, too, whose homes, renovations and repairs will only be more expensive".
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McNeil said the exclusion of Nova Scotia and the other two provinces from the duty will be finalized on December 20, and at that time the duty the USA had been collecting on Nova Scotia lumber will be returned to the producers.