Monday, 20 August, 2018

Canadian lumber producers brace for second round of softwood lumber duties

Canadian lumber producers brace for second round of softwood lumber duties Canadian lumber producers brace for second round of softwood lumber duties
Orlando Vargas | 27 June, 2017, 05:56

Canada's share of the USA softwood lumber market was 27 per cent in May, down from 31 per cent a year earlier, according to monthly Canadian government reports.

The new anti-dumping duty will overlap for about two months with average preliminary countervailing duties of 19.88 per cent announced in April that are set to expire on August 27.

The Commerce Department said that the duties announced Monday were "preliminary" and that it would reach a final determination on September 7. Canfor will face 7.72%, Resolute 4.59%, Tolko 7.53%, and West Fraser 6.76%, while "all other companies" will have to pay 6.87%.

Two other mandatory respondents, West Fraser Timber (TSX:WFT) and Tolko, were tagged with 6.76 and 7.53 per cent duties, respectively.

Combined, the countervailing and anti-dumping duties add 27% to 31% to the cost of lumber exported to the U.S.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Lumber Coalition, an industry lobby group, said it applauded Washington's move to counter Canada's "unfair trading practices".

The U.S. will impose further punitive tariffs on imports of softwood lumber from Canada, escalating a longstanding trade dispute that's already led to higher timber prices.

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The BC Lumber Trade Council said it will continue to vigorously defend the industry.

Mr. Rustad, whose BC Liberal government might soon be replaced by a political alliance of the NDP and Greens, cautioned about rocky times ahead for B.C. softwood producers.

While US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said he was "optimistic that we will be able to reach a negotiated solution on softwood lumber", the measures were part of an effort to "stand up for American companies and their workers".

This is the fifth time the US has accused Canada of unfairly subsidizing its softwood industry. The move could have an immediate effect on trade, pu as the US government will start collecting deposits from imports based on the new ruling. "This was proven in the last round of litigation and we fully expect it will be again". Loans would be at market interest rates and do not constitute a subsidy, he said. The U.S. Lumber Coalition's statement can be found here.

The U.S. anti-subsidy and anti-dumping probes affect about $5.66 billion worth of imports of the construction material, and they show the United States taking a tough stance on trade with Canada as the two countries and Mexico prepare to renegotiate the 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Canada's Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr recently announced a support package for forest companies facing the fifth round of US duties, including loans and loan guarantees to help companies keep running. The previous settlement took more than four years to negotiate. In June, the Canadian government announced it would provide almost $1 billion in additional subsidies to the Canadian softwood lumber industry.

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