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BC premier promises to fight US-imposed softwood lumber tariffs

In Washington on Friday, Morneau said his China trip will focus on furthering relationships with his Chinese counterparts and key industry players, while Champagne works to promote the use of Canadian lumber in home construction.

Last time Canadian lumber was slapped with these types of duties was back in 2001 and exports fell off 12 per cent over two years.

"There are several different layers of duty each for a different company, but it averages 20 percent", Ross told Reuters by telephone. Yurkovich said that was unprecedented for the Department of Commerce and "entirely arbitrary".

In Central Canada, sawmills tend to be smaller, don't have as much cash flow to pay duties and are therefore more at risk of closing, experts say.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau, who chairs the cabinet committee on Canada-U.S. relations, said earlier that Ottawa was ready for any tariffs.

The trade commission will issue a second ruling within several months about whether Canada has also been "dumping" lumber, a trade practice in which companies sell their products overseas at prices lower than they charge in their home market to damage their foreign competitors.

Jeffrey Schott, a former Treasury official and trade negotiator, said the tariff would likely translate into higher costs for USA consumers.




She says the tariffs will only create price volatility, driving up costs for American consumers, especially families who want to build or renovate a home.

"The Government of Canada disagrees strongly with the U.S. Department of Commerce's decision to impose an unfair and punitive duty".

In ruling after ruling since 1983, worldwide tribunals have disproved the unfounded subsidy and injury allegations from the US industry. Canada changed its policy on pricing domestic milk to cover more dairy ingredients, leading to lower prices for Canadian products including ultra-filtered milk that compete with USA milk. The U.S. Lumber Coalition, which represents the industry, said the duties will likely take effect starting sometime next week.

NAFTA never addressed the softwood lumber issue or Canada's largely closed dairy market. The World Trade Organization sided with Canada in 2004 and the two sides came to a temporary agreement in 2006, which expired last October.

The move came after there was no breakthrough in United States talks on Canadian dairy tariffs.

The action on a long-simmering trade dispute between the USA and Canada would increase the cost of building houses and cause American businesses to hunt for supplies in other countries.

The tariffs will range from 3 percent to 24 percent, depending on the company.

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