B.C. calls U.S.’s increase in duties on Canadian softwood lumber unfair, unacceptable

B.C. ministers Katrine Conroy and Ravi Kahlon on Wednesday, in response to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s final determination in its second administrative review regarding countervailing and anti-dumping duties applied to Canada’s softwood lumber exports to the U.S., said that to increase unfair duties was unacceptable at any time, and even more so as both countries work together to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Conroy, who is Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, and Kahlon, who is Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, said in a joint statement: “We remain steadfast in our shared position with industry that B.C.’s forest policies are trade compliant, and these duties continue to harm B.C.’s forestry sector and the thousands of hard-working families who work in the industry.

“Since 2017, our government has been meeting with federal counterparts to amplify that reaching a fair settlement is a top priority for the Province. More recently, Minister Kahlon has held meetings with Canadian and American federal diplomats responsible for international trade to discuss the softwood lumber issue.

“We’re dedicated to putting workers and their families first when it comes to the challenges facing the forest sector, and the last thing workers need are duties that will raise costs and hurt local businesses.

“As we build back from the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent devastating weather events, we’re working hard to create a sustainable, inclusive and innovative economy that works for everyone. That includes creating a more diverse and resilient forest sector.

“Part of this work includes expanding growth in global markets for B.C. wood products, including mass timber, by investing in capacity and competitiveness in manufacturing, helping industry understand trends in products and markets, and funding industry-delivered market development activities in high-potential markets. Mass timber will play a vital role in the growth of the forestry, manufacturing and construction sectors, and translate into new jobs and investment in research, design, engineering, construction and forestry.

“B.C. is a fair and competitive trader. We will continue to defend B.C.’s interests and stand up for the 50,000 hard-working people in our forest industry against these unwarranted duties.

“We are urgently working with our counterparts in Ottawa to vigorously defend against this unfair U.S. trade action on softwood lumber through all of the dispute settlement processes available to us.”

 

SUSAN Yurkovich, President of the BC Lumber Trade Council, noted that the new combined countervailing (CVD) and antidumping (AD) “All Others” rate will be 17.9%, which is double the current combined “All Others” rate of 8.99%.

She said: “While not unexpected, we are disappointed with the doubling of the duties on softwood lumber for Canadian producers. As we have repeatedly stated, these unfair duties hurt not only B.C. businesses and workers, but also U.S. consumers looking to repair, remodel and build new homes. As U.S. producers remain unable to meet domestic demand, these duties are a threat to post-pandemic recovery on both sides of the border.”

“Our strong hope is that the U.S. industry will end this decades-long litigation and instead work with us to meet demand for the low-carbon wood products the world wants, including American families. Until then, we will continue to vigorously defend our industry against these meritless allegations.”

Once published, B.C. producers will be subject to these new rates. This final rate largely reflects the preliminary “All Others” rate of 18.32%, initially issued on May 21, 2021.

B.C. is the largest Canadian exporter of softwood lumber to the U.S. The B.C. forest industry supports approximately 100,000 direct and indirect jobs in the province. The BC Lumber Trade Council represents the majority of lumber production in the province.

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