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Ontario joins feds in denouncing lowered US softwood lumber duties


November 25, 2020
By P&PC Staff

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Ontario has joined the federal government in calling U.S. duties on Canadian softwood lumber “unfair,” despite a recent lowering of countervailing duties by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

On Nov. 24, the department announced its administrative review had revised the countervailing duties to nine per cent for some Canadian exporters instead of 20 per cent.

U.S. representatives say that Canada’s stumpage system, which sees provincially regulated fees paid to the government, helps to subsidize the Canadian forestry industry. U.S. lumber producers are privately operated.

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“While the U.S. Department of Commerce has reduced duty deposit rates for many in the Canadian softwood lumber industry, we firmly believe that any rates of this sort are unfair and unjustified,” said John Yakabuski, Ontario’s minister of natural resources and forestry, and Vic Fedeli, minister of economic development, job creation and trade, in a statement.

“These rates put the softwood lumber industry and the workers, families and communities that rely on it at an unfair disadvantage during this already difficult time.

“Fair and open trade is most beneficial for consumers on both sides of the border and we stand by our decision to defend the Canadian forest industry every step of the way. The rate for all companies should be zero – that’s the meaning of free trade.”

For more on the federal government’s response to the softwood lumber duties, read the full story on our partner site CanadianManufacturing.com.