Minister of International Trade Mary Ng participates in a news conference on the Canada-United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement in Ottawa, on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. The federal government says American duties on Canadian softwood lumber exports continue to be “unfair” and “unjustified,” even if they have been reduced. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Minister of International Trade Mary Ng participates in a news conference on the Canada-United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement in Ottawa, on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. The federal government says American duties on Canadian softwood lumber exports continue to be “unfair” and “unjustified,” even if they have been reduced. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Despite reduction, Canada calls U.S. softwood lumber duties ‘unfair,’ ‘unjustified’

U.S. producers have long taken issue with Canada’s system of provincially regulated stumpage fees

The federal government says American duties on Canadian softwood lumber exports continue to be “unfair” and “unjustified,” even if they have been reduced.

An administrative review by the U.S. Department of Commerce imposes countervailing duties of nearly nine per cent on certain Canadian exporters, down from just over 20 per cent.

It’s the latest salvo in one of the most persistent trade irritants between Canada and the United States, a dispute that has been raging for nearly 40 years.

The lower rate appears to be the result of a World Trade Organization decision in August that found Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission were wrong to impose the original duties in 2017.

International Trade Minister Mary Ng acknowledged the lower tariffs as a step in the right direction, but insisted they remain baseless and unfair.

Ng says the government will continue to seek a negotiated settlement and defend the interests of Canadian forestry companies and workers.

“While reduction in tariffs for some Canadian producers is a step in the right direction, Canada is disappointed that the United States continues to impose unwarranted and unfair duties on Canadian softwood lumber,” she said in a statement Tuesday evening.

“These duties have caused unjustified harm to Canadian businesses and workers, as well as U.S. consumers.”

U.S. producers have long taken issue with Canada’s system of provincially regulated stumpage fees, which are paid to the Crown in exchange for the right to harvest timber.

They say the system unfairly subsidizes an industry which in the U.S. is privately owned and operated, with pricing set by the competitive marketplace.

Canadian lumber exports play a critical role in the U.S., where demand for wood products used in construction significantly outstrips the domestic supply.

The U.S. Lumber Coalition, a champion of countervailing duties against Canada, noted in a statement that the August decision by the WTO is being appealed — although the U.S. has effectively hamstrung the world body’s dispute resolution panel by refusing to appoint new members.

“It is absolutely imperative that these flawed WTO recommendations are not allowed to undermine in any way the continued enforcement of the trade laws,” executive director Zoltan van Heyningen said in a statement.

“The WTO case is far from over, and as such, it must not be allowed to influence the ongoing process and the results of the second administrative review.”

READ MORE: Lumber hitting record-high prices as supply lags behind demand

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

softwood lumber

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Staff and volunteers at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea were disappointed by the theft of an educational porpoise skull likely taken on Jan. 8. (Courtesy of Tina Kelly)
Well-loved porpoise skull stolen from Sidney aquarium

Skull had been used for youth and visitor education and outreach for years

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

The Starbucks in Langford’s Westshore Town Centre is one of almost 300 storefronts that the U.S. coffee giant will be shutting across Canada by the end of March. (Google Maps)
Langford’s Westshore Town Centre Starbucks to close permanently

Popular coffee chain to close 300 storefronts across Canada by end of March

An Oak Bay Police officer handed out five tickets for “fail to obey stop sign” and two tickets for using a cell phone while driving, all within two hours at King George Terrace on Jan. 11. (Oak Bay Police Twitter)
Man confronts unmasked group at Oak Bay Marina

Oak Bay police issue plenty of tickets in short King George Terrace visit

A senior official with Victoria International Airport says the airport is still researching COVID-19 testing regimes but predicts testing and screening will remain part of the aviation industry even after vaccines have rolled out. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria International Airport researching COVID-19 testing options

Senior official predicts ‘screening and testing will be around long after the vaccination rollout’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Trees destroyed a Shoreacres home during a wind storm Jan. 13, 2021. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay woman flees just before tree crushes house

Pamala DeRosa is thankful to be alive

Gin, one of the Kantymirs’ two sheep. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Sheep start up ATV, sit in cars and go for walks in Salmon Arm

Until they bought two sheep, Ken and Karleen Kantymir didin’t realize just how social the animals are

Most Read