Lawmakers applaud new tariffs on subsidized Canadian lumber

Say it will provide relief for U.S. industry

WASHINGTON - Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and several congressman praised new tariffs against subsidized Canadian softwood lumber announced Thursday by the Department of Commerce.

First, Wyden's statement:

“With today’s action by the Commerce Department, American lumber mills and millworkers are one step closer to getting hard-won relief against subsidized and dumped Canadian softwood lumber,” Wyden said. “This administration must fully enforce America’s trade laws, not just for the mills and workers in Oregon and across the country, but for the communities that depend on them.”

Wyden has led several letters calling on the Trump administration to address subsidized and dumped Canadian softwood lumber, most recently in July. 

Last year, Wyden, together with 23 other senators, wrote a letter to President Obama urging the administration to fully enforce U.S. trade laws if it cannot reach a fair, effective, and sustainable agreement with Canada on softwood lumber trade.

The Department of Commerce announced Thursday its final subsidy determination for softwood lumber from Canada, finding final subsidy margins averaging 14.25 percent. The International Trade Commission is scheduled to issue its final decision on the case in December.

Together with final anti-dumping margins previously announced, softwood lumber imported from Canada will be subject to an average tariff rate of approximately 20 percent, if the International Trade Commission makes a final affirmative determination.

Reps. Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Greg Walden (OR-02), Rick Larsen (WA-02) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) released the following statement Friday in response to the announcement by the U.S. Department of Commerce of final anti-dumping and countervailing duties on softwood lumber imports from Canada:

“The duties announced today by the Commerce Department will provide much-needed relief for the U.S. softwood lumber industry. Since the expiration of the last Softwood Lumber Trade Agreement in 2015, Canada’s share of the U.S. softwood lumber industry has crept up to one-third of the market, devastating U.S. producers. These new antidumping and countervailing duties will help to prevent Canadian producers from unfairly dumping artificially cheap products into our markets and will help level the playing field for U.S. producers competing against Canada’s government-subsidized timber.”

“Although the U.S. repeatedly came to the negotiating table with reasonable offers, the Canadians rejected our proposals, leaving our Commerce Department no choice but to move forward with imposing duties on Canadian softwood imports. Thanks to these new duties, the U.S. lumber industry will finally have room to grow to its full potential without the stifling constraints of unfairly-traded Canadian lumber.”

Since the expiration of the most-recent Softwood Lumber Agreement, negotiations between the U.S. and Canada to regulate softwood trade have been unsuccessful, l leaving the U.S. market unprotected against the increasing flood of illegally subsidized Canadian imports.  After no new agreement was reached by late 2016, representatives from the U.S. timber industry had no choice but to petition the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to file antidumping and countervailing duties against Canadian lumber producers. Under long-standing U.S. trade law, U.S. industries have a right to offsetting duties against illegally subsidized and dumped imports which threaten to put domestic producers out of business.

The U.S. Department of Commerce earlier this year investigated the softwood lumber market and found that the Canadian government heavily subsidizes their softwood lumber production, artificially lowering production costs for Canadian mills and ultimately allowing them to dump softwood lumber products into the U.S. at below fair-value prices, putting at-risk the 350,000 jobs directly and indirectly associated with the U.S. sawmill and wood preservation industry. 

The remedy announced Thursday will help counteract Canada’s unfair trade practices by enforcing anti-dumping and countervailing duties of between 9.92 and 23.76 percent on Canadian softwood imports.

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