Canada Considering Response To US Lumber Tariffs Canada Considering Response To US Lumber Tariffs

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

09 May 2017

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said his Government is considering British Columbia’s request for a ban on the shipment of US thermal coal through the province’s ports, in response to US trade duties.

In April, the British Columbian Premier, Christy Clark, wrote to Trudeau to request the ban in the wake of the US Government’s decision to impose countervailing duties on imports of Canadian softwood lumber.

In a preliminary determination issued in response to a petition by the US lumber lobby, the US Department of Commerce concluded that exporters of softwood lumber from Canada received countervailable subsidies of between 3.02 percent and 24.12 percent. US Customs and Border Protection has been instructed to collect cash deposits based on these preliminary rates.

According to Clark, while the shipment of US thermal coal is not good for the environment, British Columbia has not pressed the issue with the federal Government because “friends and trading partners cooperate.” However, she said the US is clearly “taking a different approach.”

Clark argued that banning the transport of US thermal coal through Canada “would be consistent with the efforts of both British Columbia and Canada to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.”

“And with the decision by the United States Department of Commerce to impose these unfair and unwarranted softwood lumber exports, now is the time to align our shared values with our environmental policy,” she added.

In his response to Clark, Trudeau said his Government is considering the request “carefully and seriously,” and has asked federal trade officials to further examine the request to inform the Government’s next steps.

He added: “We disagree strongly with the US Department of Commerce’s decision to impose an unfair and punitive duty on softwood lumber products … This decision is negatively affecting workers on both sides of the border and will increase costs for Americans and their families who want to build or renovate homes.”

Trudeau said his Government shares British Columbia’s commitment to fighting climate change, and looks forward to continuing to work with provincial Premiers “as we stand up for jobs, our industry, and to strengthen the Canada-US relationship.”

Published at Mon, 08 May 2017 19:00:00 -0500