Canada threatens litigation in face of new U.S. duties

Natural Resources Canada
June 27, 2017
By Natural Resources Canada
Jun. 27, 2017 - Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources, and Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, yesterday issued the following statement in response to the announcement by the U.S. Department of Commerce of the imposition of preliminary anti-dumping duties on imports of certain Canadian softwood lumber products into the United States and the announcement of consultations on excluding three provinces from duties.

The Government of Canada stands firmly behind the Canadian forest industry. This innovative, environmentally responsible and globally competitive industry sustains hundreds of thousands of good middle-class jobs across our country, including in rural and Indigenous communities.

We will vigorously defend Canada’s softwood lumber industry, including through litigation, and we expect to prevail as we have in the past.

We are deeply disappointed by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision to impose unfair and punitive anti-dumping duties against Canada’s softwood lumber producers who sell products into the United States. As with the preliminary countervailing duties announced this past April, these penalties are based on a flawed rationale that is damaging to workers, communities and consumers in Canada and the United States.

These latest U.S. duties will significantly add to the costs that American consumers will have to bear when seeking to repair, renovate and build their homes. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has estimated that new duties on Canadian lumber imports will cost jobs, hurt workers’ wages and put home ownership out of the reach of thousands of American families.

We welcome the step by the U.S. Department of Commerce regarding consultations on an exclusion for Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland & Labrador from anti-dumping and countervailing duties on softwood. This represents significant progress in this longstanding dispute; however, we will continue to press our U.S. counterparts for the removal of duties for all provinces and would welcome a commitment by the U.S. Department of Commerce to consider an exclusion for New Brunswick.

Canadian workers, companies and communities can continue to count on the Government of Canada for the long-term health and prosperity of the Canadian forest sector.

As our government announced earlier this month, we are investing $867 million to support workers and communities affected by these ill-conceived duties, diversify our forest products and international markets, and facilitate access to a range of financial services for our producers on commercial terms. We are confident these measures comply fully with our international trade obligations. In addition, the government is actively exploring dynamic and growing export markets for Canadian forestry products in Asia.

We will continue our determined efforts to maintain a dialogue with our American counterparts to encourage them to rescind this unwarranted trade action and come to a durable negotiated agreement on softwood lumber that is good for Canada as well as its forestry workers, producers and affected communities. We remain confident that a negotiated settlement is both possible and in the best interests of our two countries.

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