US broadens net against Canadian softwood imports
By Peter Ewart
The US International Trade Administration (USITA) has expanded its net to include a number of value-added Canadian softwood products it will be investigating for so-called “unfair trade practices.” This follows an announcement last week by USITA that Canada, with its softwood exports, has caused “injury” to US producers (1).
As Madison’s Lumber Reporter notes, the original intent of US anti-dumping duties (ADD) and Countervailing Duties (CVD) was to apply these to “primary mills” only and not to downstream industries that further process or fabricate the wood, e.g. value-added products (2).
However, over the years, the US Lumber Coalition has continually pushed to expand the net. For example, it argued for drilled and/or notched studs to be included. This was “quickly expanded to include all drilled and/or notched lumber, as well as angle end-cut material, none of which required further fabrication after import.”
Now the USITA is demanding that a range of new products must also be covered by the net, including various types of “wood pallet and packaging, door and window frame, and fencing material” not requiring further fabrication (2).
The Madison’s Lumber Report concludes that, if the US Lumber Coalition and the USITA are “allowed to continue to increase the scope, pretty soon all lumber products from Canada, will be captured”, i.e. possibly subject to anti-dumping duties and countervailing duties.
This development poses a serious danger to Canadian value-added and downstream softwood producers, many of which are small or medium in size. And it is another example of how the US promotes “free trade” one day and “protectionism” the next, according to whatever suits its purposes – everyone else, including Canada, be damned. All of this underscores the danger of basing a large part of our economy on trade with a domineering and, increasingly fickle and erratic, US oligarchy.
Indeed, all of this may be a move to suffocate and restrict Canadian wood manufacturing right at a time when science and technology has opened up great possibilities for obtaining more value out of wood in the form of new products, processes and usages.
Above all, it underscores the necessity for our own province and nation building strategy utilizing our wealth of natural resources as a basis for an all-sided national economy. Otherwise, the direction we are heading in is to be reduced to “a hewer of wood and drawer of water” for the US oligarchs.
Peter Ewart is a columnist and writer based in Prince George, British Columbia. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Macdonald – Meisner, Elaine. Softwood Lumber battle heating up. January 6, 2017. 250 News. https://www.250news.com/2017/01/06/softwood-lumber-battle-heating-up/
- Madison’s Lumber Reporter. January 8, 2017. ITC Softwood Lumber ADD/CVD Fact Sheet. http://madisonsreport.com/lumber-prices/