COFI Responds to News of U.S. Imposed Duties
Prince George, B.C. – The U.S. Department of Trade and Commerce has levelled countervailing duties averaging about 20% against Canadian lumber being shipped to the United States. The B.C. Lumber Trade Council is denouncing the decision.
In a prepared release, President of the BC Lumber Trade Council, Susan Yurkovich says the duties are “unwarranted, and this determination is completely without merit.”
“The allegations made by the U.S. lumber lobby are the same arguments they made in prior rounds of litigation, all of which were rejected and overturned by independent NAFTA panels. This new trade action is driven by the same protectionist lumber lobby in the U.S. whose sole purpose is to create artificial supply constraints on lumber and drive prices up for their benefit, at the expense of American consumers.”
The U.S. Department of Commerce [DOC] also found “critical circumstances” which means duties will be retroactive 90 days for all companies other than the mandatory respondents ( Canfor, Resolute, Tolko and West Fraser). “The finding of critical circumstances in this case represents an unprecedented departure from the DOC’s typical approach and produces an entirely arbitrary result,” added Yurkovich.
“American demand for lumber exceeds what the U.S. lumber industry currently produces,” stated Yurkovich. “And, with housing and construction starts on the rise, demand for lumber is expected to continue to grow in the years ahead. The fact is, Canadian lumber imports don’t pose a threat to the U.S. lumber industry. There is enough North American demand to grow the U.S. industry while also allowing Canada to supply its U.S. customers as we have been doing for decades.”
“BC Lumber Trade Council continues to believe that reaching a new agreement is in the best interests of producers and consumers on both sides of the border and we will continue to work closely with our provincial and federal governments to support efforts to reach a new agreement. However, with this U.S. trade action, we will also continue to vigorously defend our industry and our workers against these unwarranted duties and expect to be successful as we have been in the past.”