The BC Lumber Trade Council says it will fight an “egregious” U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) ruling that Canadian softwood imports hurt the U.S. lumber industry.
“The ruling today, while not unexpected, is completely without merit,” said Susan Yurkovich, president of the BC Lumber Trade Council. “The ITC finding of ‘injury’, despite the current record-setting profitability of the U.S. lumber industry, makes it very clear that this was not an objective evaluation of the facts.”
Last month the U.S. Commerce Department lowered duties on Canadian softwood lumber to just over 20 per cent for most Canadian lumber producers.
“There can be no doubt that this process is biased in favour of the U.S. industry,” said Yurkovich. “To our knowledge, the ITC has never before reached an affirmative decision of injury when an industry was enjoying the most profitable period in its history, which is the case today for the U.S. lumber industry. The fact is, there is no injury to U.S. producers and we are fully prepared to fight this egregious decision. We will initiate appeals as soon as possible and, working with both federal and provincial governments, we are confident that the ITC decision will be overturned.”
She pointed out that in previous softwood lumber wars, not one of the decisions issued by the ITC survived independent appeals, before both NAFTA and WTO panels.
“We are confident that this latest decision by the ITC will again be reversed,” she said. “The U.S. coalition’s claims of injury ring particularly hollow given the extraordinary financial performance that the U.S. lumber industry is enjoying, and given that Canadian imports are at a lower level today than at the levels deemed non-injurious under both the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement and by the ITC itself in the last round of litigation.”
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.