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Anti-dumping ruling adds pressure to B.C. lumber industry

B.C. lumber producers will continue to defend the industry against a new round of preliminary anti-dumping duties imposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce on Canadian softwood lumber, said the head of the B.C. Lumber Trade Council.

Susan Yurkovich
Susan Yurkovich

The preliminary anti-dumping rates imposed by the U.S. yesterday come on the heels of countervailing duties of approximately 20 per cent, levied earlier this year. The anti-dumping rates are as follows:  Canfor 7.72 per cent, Resolute 4.59 per cent, Tolko 7.53 per cent, West Fraser 6.76 per cent, and 6.87 per cent for ‘all others.’ The countervailing and anti-dumping levies result in a combined duty rate ranging from 26.75 per cent to 30.88 per cent for B.C. producers.

“These duties result from the trade action which is part of the continued attempt by the protectionist U.S. lumber lobby to constrain imports of high-quality Canadian lumber into the U.S. market and to drive up prices for their benefit,” said Susan Yurkovich, President of the BC Lumber Trade Council. “The ongoing allegations levelled by the U.S. industry are without merit.  This was proven in the last round of litigation and we fully expect it will be the case again.”

Canada and the U.S. enjoy one of the most productive trading relationships in the world, and the North American lumber market has always been served by both American and Canadian producers, she said.

“American demand for lumber exceeds what the U.S. lumber industry currently produces, and there is enough demand in North America to grow the U.S. industry while also allowing Canada to continue to supply our U.S customers as we have been doing for decades. Canadian lumber companies have always traded fairly.  This action by the U.S. lumber lobby ultimately punishes American consumers who are faced with higher lumber prices when they buy, build or renovate their home.”

“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, we will also continue to vigorously defend our industry and our workers against these unwarranted duties and we expect to be successful as we have been in the past.”

B.C. is the largest Canadian exporter of softwood lumber to the U.S. The B.C. forest industry is a major contributor to the provincial economy and supports approximately 145,000 direct and indirect jobs in the province. The BC Lumber Trade Council is the voice on trade matters for companies in British Columbia representing the majority of B.C. lumber production.

Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations John Rustad has issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Commerce ruling.

“We knew this decision was coming but that doesn’t soften the blow. Forestry built British Columbia and drives our economy. We will continue to stand strong and fight for the over 140 communities and over 60,000 British Columbians that depend on forestry for their livelihood.

“The only long-term solution is a negotiated trade agreement. We will ensure B.C.’s interests are protected in any such agreement. The alternative is to be subject to U.S. legal processes designed to favour a few select timber barons. These actions hurt Canadian companies and Canadian workers, but they also hurt U.S. homebuyers and the U.S. construction and renovation industry.

“In the meantime, our legal team in B.C. will continue to work with Canada and with the forest sector to fight these duties at every opportunity. History shows that the American decisions on duties do not withstand legal scrutiny. Once the final determinations have been made by the U.S. Department of Commerce, we’ll be working closely with the federal government and B.C. industry on launching appeals.

“Further to recommendations made by the ministerial Federal-Provincial Task Force on Softwood Lumber, of which British Columbia is a member, the federal government has committed $867 million to assist workers and communities across Canada that may be affected by the softwood lumber tariffs. As reiterated in the speech from the throne, B.C. will continue to grow offshore markets for B.C. lumber, and also pre-purchase B.C. lumber for use in public housing projects.”

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