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United States reduces softwood lumber duties for all but two Canadian producers

United States reduces softwood lumber duties for all but two Canadian producers

"While I am disappointed that a negotiated agreement could not be made between domestic and Canadian softwood producers, the United States is committed to free, fair and reciprocal trade with Canada", said Secretary Ross.

The weighted average tariffs levied by the Trump administration consist of 14.25 per cent for countervailing duties and 6.58 per cent for anti-dumping levies.

"The U.S. continues to attack its closest friend, neighbour and ally while domestically the U.S. lumber coalition continues to put the interest of its members ahead of what is good for the American economy and American consumers", Bruce Ralston, minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, said in a press release. To counteract unfair subsidies, countries may also introduce countervailing duties.

The ministers said: "We urge the US Administration to rescind these duties, which harm workers and communities in Canada".

Decisive action is needed from Canada's Liberal government, which has indicated it is considering options to try to overturn the US tariffs, said Stephen Hunt, USW Western Canada Director.

Last night, US commerce department announced final countervailing duties (CVD) on imports of softwood lumber from Canada.

Nova Scotia has been collaborating with industry, Ottawa and USA officials since the expiry of the previous Softwood Lumber Agreement in October 2015, to explain why the exclusion should be maintained.

"As we have consistently said, these duties are unwarranted and this trade action is completely without merit", said Susan Yurkovich, president of the B.C. Lumber Trade Council. The moratorium on trade litigation ran out in October 2016, and USA lumber interests started calling for trade sanctions on Canadian wood. "With a fair-trade environment, the USA industry, and the 350,000 hardworking men and women who support it, have the ability to grow production to meet much more of our country's softwood lumber demand".

The lumber duties are "unjust and punitive" and Canada will continue to push back against American industry, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters in Brampton, Ontario. An earlier version said Resolute was the only producer to have its duties raised. "This decision is based on a full and unbiased review of the facts in an open and transparent process that defends American workers and businesses from unfair trade practises". Those talks are continuing parallel to talks with the USA over the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. "These duties are a tax on the American middle-class families, too, whose homes, renovations and repairs will only be more expensive".

"We will forcefully defend Canada's softwood lumber industry, including through litigation, and we expect to prevail as we have in the past", Freeland and Carr said. It also determined that Canada is providing unfair subsidies to its producers at rates of 3.34 to 18.19 per cent. Meanwhile, U.S. home builders are fighting the tariffs because they raise the price of home construction. Canadian unions and lumber companies fear the issue will eventually cause layoffs. However, it has now said that despite efforts by the U.S. and Canada, and their respective softwood lumber industries, the parties were unable to reach a mutually acceptable settlement.

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