The U.S. International Trade Commission has unanimously voted that the American lumber industry has been harmed by Canadian softwood lumber imports.
SUSAN Yurkovich, President of the BC Lumber Trade Council, on Thursday called the affirmative injury decision issued by the U.S. International Trade Commission [ITC] on softwood lumber as completely without merit.
"The evidence presented to the ITC was clear - the massive subsidies that the Canadian government provides to its lumber industry and the dumping of lumber products into the U.S. market by Canadian companies cause real harm to U.S. producers and workers", said Jason Brochu, U.S. Lumber's co-chairman in a statement.
"We are disappointed by the ITC ruling and believe this is a protectionist measure created to safeguard the interests of major domestic lumber producers at the expense of American consumers".
Freeland also warned that the duties threaten Canadian middle-class jobs, especially in rural and indigenous communities, while punishing American consumers with higher lumber prices.
In November, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that it would seek to impose average tariffs of around 20.8 percent on imports of Canadian softwood lumber.
The vote by four USITC commissioners was unanimous, according to the release. Since the USA doesn't' produce enough lumber to meet the nation's domestic needs, we need to take steps to boost domestic production.
Canada is challenging the duties under both the North American Free Trade Agreement and at the World Trade Organization.
The disagreement centers on the fees paid by Canadian lumber mills for timber cut largely from government-owned land. Those fees are lower than fees paid on US timber, which comes largely from private land.
In testimony this week before lawmakers, Canada's chief Nafta negotiator, Steve Verheul, said the softwood dispute between the US and Canada "will continue to be a hard issue" and said it is unlikely a solution will be incorporated in any renegotiated continental trade pact.
The statement followed a unanimous ruling by the USITC earlier on Thursday that Canadian softwood lumber exports had harmed United States producers. More than 95 percent comes from Canada.