The United States International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled today that the USA lumber industry is materially injured by Canadian government subsidies of its softwood lumber industry.
The U.S. lumber coalition position is that Canada unfairly subsidizes its producers with low stumpage fees for harvesting trees on government land and that Canadian producers are selling wood into the U.S.at lower prices than they sell it at home. International Trade Commission unanimously voted that Canadian exports have harmed the American lumber industry.
"The evidence presented to the ITC was clear - the massive subsidies that the Canadian government provides to its lumber industry and the dumping of lumber products into the U.S. market by Canadian companies cause real harm to U.S. producers and workers", said Jason Brochu, U.S. Lumber's co-chairman in a statement.
"We are disappointed by the ITC ruling and believe this is a protectionist measure created to safeguard the interests of major domestic lumber producers at the expense of American consumers".
The commission made the decision in a unanimous vote on December 7.
Susan Yurkovich, President of the BC Lumber Trade Council, which represents lumber producers in British Columbia, the largest Canadian exporter of softwood lumber to the USA, said the ruling by the commission "is completely without merit". It has long argued Canadian lumber should be subject to a tariff to offset the subsidy.
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The Canadian government has denied taking actions to prop up the industry to the detriment of the US industry. The Commerce Department a month ago issued a final determination that Canada subsidizes its forestry industry and dumps lumber on the US market at unfairly low prices, and the department issued final tariffs of 20% or more, depending on which Canadian mill saws the lumber.
Canada and the US continue to negotiate a new softwood trade agreement.
Last month, Canada filed for the creation of an expert panel under Nafta to determine on whether the duties are justified under law.
Any lumber agreement is expected to remain outside of a final NAFTA pact.
Efforts to solve Canada's festering softwood lumber trade dispute with the United States suffered another blow Thursday after the U.S.
More than 95 percent of all imported lumber came from Canada a year ago.
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