Canada To Fight US Lumber Duties Canada To Fight US Lumber Duties

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

26 April 2017

Justin Trudeau has told Donald Trump that his Government will “vigorously defend” the interests of the Canadian softwood lumber industry, following the announcement of new US countervailing duties on Canadian imports.

According to a statement from the Canadian Prime Minister’s Office, Trudeau told the US President that the duties were “unfair,” and refuted the US Department of Commerce’s “baseless allegations” that the Canadian softwood lumber industry is subsidized.

The statement added that the two leaders “agreed on the importance of reaching a negotiated agreement, recognizing the integrated nature of the industry between Canada and the United States.”

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 3.02 percent to 24.12 percent.

The Department of Commerce will instruct US Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits based on these preliminary rates. Certain companies will be subject to the retroactive collection of cash deposits, because the Department determined that “critical circumstances” exist.

In 2016, imports of softwood lumber to the US from Canada were valued at an estimated USD5.66bn.

Canada’s Revenue Minister, Diane Lebouthillier, said that the Government will “vigorously fight [the determination] through litigation.” She emphasized that “previous US claims for duties have always been found to be without basis and we expect that to be the case, again, this time.”

The Prime Minister’s Office said that Trudeau and Trump also discussed bilateral trade in dairy products. US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has alleged that Canada “intends to effectively cut off the last dairy products being exported from the United States.”

Trudeau’s office said that the trading relationship heavily favors the US, with Canada importing over CAD550m (USD404.9m) of dairy products from the US, and exporting just over CAD110m. Trudeau told Trump that Canada “upholds its international trade obligations, including the North America Free Trade Agreement, under which the US continues to have duty-free and quota-free access for milk protein substances, including diafiltered milk, and that Canada would continue to defend its interests.”

Published at Tue, 25 Apr 2017 19:00:00 -0500