Science

US lumber group files petition against Canadian softwood producers

US lumber group files petition against Canadian softwood producers

Alex Lawrence, a spokesman for International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland, said Canada is prepared for any situation, and the government will "vigorously defend" the interests of Canadian workers and producers.

OTTAWA-U.S. lumber producers filed a trade complaint over Canadian lumber imports on Friday, making good on an earlier threat that could revive a decades-old trade fight at a time when U.S. President-elect Donald Trump seeks major changes to the North American Free-Trade Agreement. The unfair practices petition asks the U.S. government to impose duties to offset the harm U.S. mills, workers and communities are feeling from what the petition calls "Canadian producers dumping the subsidized merchandise on the U.S. Market". -Canada Softwood Lumber Trade Agreement, Canadian imports surged from 29.5 percent of US total consumption in the third quarter of 2015 to 33.1 percent in the fourth quarter of the same year and to 34.1 percent so far in 2016.

Under the US system, so-called preliminary duties can be levied on Canadian softwood imports into the United States six months after an unfair trading case is commenced with the Department of Commerce, and tariffs stay in place while American bureaucrats investigate the allegations. But duties could be retroactive for up to 90 days. An earlier story did not make clear that both the US and Canada bicker over whether Canadian companies have cheap access to public forests.

The US lumber industry is petitioning the BC government to launch trade litigation against Canadian and provincial governments, and the Canadian forestry industry.

Canadian officials have said there were "fundamental differences" between the two sides on softwood lumber, making it hard to reach a new bilateral pact.

BC Lumber Trade Council President Susan Yurkovich had been hoping to reach an agreement with the states but admits she's not surprised by this move.

Issues such as softwood-lumber imports, Canadian government support for its dairy farmers, and labeling of beef in the USA produced from cattle born or raised in Canada could attract notice from the incoming administration.

Canadian negotiators have proposed setting an import tariff on wood exported to the United States.

Forests Minister Steve Thomson received the news as he began his annual forest products trade mission to Japan Friday. US observers have noted the Canadian federal and B.C. provincial governments have often been at odds over what position to take in the negotiations.

Mason said the objective of the USA action is to force mill closures and shift curtailments in this country.

"Border measures against subsidized and unfairly traded Canadian lumber imports are essential - otherwise differences between the U.S".

The petition also illustrates the negative effects of Canadian imports on USA market prices, causing prices to fall from their levels in 2013 and 2014, even while US demand was increasing. That is lower than Canada's 2015 market share of 30 per cent.