U.S. agency rules against Canada on soft­wood

De­ci­sion means du­ties won’t re­turn to lum­ber com­pa­nies

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - ROSS MAROWITS

Canada’s soft­wood lum­ber in­dus­try suf­fered an­other blow af­ter the U.S. In­ter­na­tional Trade Com­mis­sion unan­i­mously voted Thurs­day that its im­ports have harmed the Amer­i­can lum­ber in­dus­try.

In a 4-0 vote, the agency sided with the U.S. lum­ber coali­tion.

The U.S. Com­merce De­part­ment last month low­ered pre­lim­i­nary du­ties. Most Cana­dian pro­duc­ers will pay a com­bined coun­ter­vail­ing and anti-dump­ing rate of 20.83 per cent, down from 26.75 per cent in the pre­lim­i­nary de­ter­mi­na­tions is­sued ear­lier this year.

The du­ties have driven up the price of lum­ber, adding to the cost of build­ing a home in the United States. Cana­dian unions and lum­ber com­pa­nies fear the is­sue will even­tu­ally cause lay­offs.

West Fraser Tim­ber pays the high­est du­ties at 23.7 per cent. Can­for is next at 22.13, fol­lowed by Tolko at 22.07, Res­o­lute For­est Prod­ucts at 17.9 per cent and J.D. Irv­ing at 9.92 per cent.

The vote means $500 mil­lion in de­posits for the du­ties paid by Cana­dian pro­duc­ers thus far won’t be re­turned as the in­dus­try had hoped.

A Res­o­lute For­est Prod­ucts spokesper­son said the U.S. will now hold large in­dus­try de­posits as “ran­som” in hope of push­ing the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment to sign a “bad deal.”

“Sorry U.S., that’s not go­ing to hap­pen. Canada is not go­ing to be bul­lied into sub­mis­sion,” Seth Kurs­man said in an in­ter­view from Washington, D.C.

He added that the fi­nan­cial health of Amer­i­can firms is clear ev­i­dence that no in­jury has been suf­fered.

“The U.S. in­dus­try has been crow­ing about its pros­per­ity for over a year. It is mak­ing more money than at any pre­vi­ous time in his­tory.”

Canada is chal­leng­ing the du­ties un­der both the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment and at the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Be­tween 2001 and 2006, when the last soft­wood lum­ber dis­pute took place, it’s be­lieved about 15,000 jobs dis­ap­peared in the soft­wood in­dus­try.

Yurkovich said the U.S. Coali­tion’s claims of in­jury “ring par­tic­u­larly hol­low” given the strong fi­nan­cial per­for­mance the U.S. in­dus­try is see­ing and Cana­dian im­ports are lower than in 2006 when im­ports were deemed non­in­ju­ri­ous.


Logs are sorted at the Mur­ray Broth­ers Lum­ber Co. wood­lot in Madawaska, Ont.

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