Home WORLD AMERICA Ottawa to challenge US softwood lumber tariffs, even if reduced

Ottawa to challenge US softwood lumber tariffs, even if reduced

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Federal International Trade Minister Mary Ng on Thursday called the most recent U.S. tariffs imposed on Canadian softwood lumber a unfounded, unjustified and of unjust – even though they have just been halved.

The U.S. Department of Commerce released the final results on Thursday. third administrative reviews anti-dumping and countervailing duties on softwood lumber products from Canada.

The new combined rate drops from 17.91% to 8.59% – it was 11.64% earlier this year, under a preliminary ruling.

But even if that rate is now lowered, Minister Ng says these fees are still unjustified and will still cause undue hardship not only to the Canadian forest industry, but also to American consumers.

She argues that these tariffs are like a tax for American consumers, making housing even more unaffordable. at a time of rising supply challenges and inflationary pressures.

The minister says Ottawa will challenge the Commerce Department’s latest findings through the dispute settlement system under the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA).

Ms. Ng nevertheless leaves the door open to a resolution of this old dispute – a settlement that some elected officials and American observers are urgently demanding in order to alleviate a little the record levels of inflation south of the border.

Canada has always been willing to work with the United States to explore ideas that would allow a return to predictable cross-border trade in softwood lumber. We remain convinced that a negotiated solution to this long-standing trade dispute is in the interest of both our countries, and we welcome an open dialogue with the United States to that end. »

A quote from Federal Minister for International Trade, Mary Ng

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai also said the United States was willing to talk – on one condition: that Canada tackle the provincial stumpage regime on public land timber.

Unfair competition?

This is the crux of this decades-long dispute: US producers argue that this regime gives Canadian producers an unfair advantage, and therefore constitutes unfair competition. However, Ottawa says Canada will never agree to such a fundamental change in the management of a key resource on public lands before the two parties have even met.

Timber-producing provinces set stumpage fees for timber harvested from Crown land. However, American producers, forced to pay for their timber according to market rates, argue that this Canadian regime amounts to a unfair subsidy.

Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota are among those in the United States who have urged Joe Biden’s administration to provide additional tariff relief on imports from Canada.

The Quebec Forest Industry Council again denounced on Thursday the imposition of this unjustified tax even reduced. As Canada and the U.S. try to control inflation, the U.S. Commerce Department continues to impose unfair duties on softwood lumber that put upward pressure on pricesindicates the CEOJean-François Samray, in a press release.

After six years of conflict, it seems essential that the federal government make this file a priority and that it quickly provide the necessary leadership, with the Government of Quebec, in order to reach a satisfactory settlement.

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