WASHINGTON, D.C.: The United States slapped a new anti-dumping tax on Canadian softwood lumber Monday, the latest escalation in a trade dispute that began with an initial set of duties on exports from America’s northern neighbor.
The US Commerce Department announced preliminary findings from an anti-dumping probe that Canadian lumber was 7.72 to 4.59 percent below normal prices.
US customs officers will now levy on Canadian timber exports these rates along with countervailing duties, bringing tax rates from 17.41 percent to 30.88 percent, depending on the business.
The US spared the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island from the additional taxes.
While US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said he was “optimistic that we will be able to reach a negotiated solution on softwood lumber,” the measures were part of an effort to “stand up for American companies and their workers.”
Last year, imports of Canadian softwood lumber to the US were valued at an estimated $5.66 billion, according to the Commerce Department.
Susan Yurkovich, who chairs the British Columbia Lumber Trade Council, denounced the tariffs as “without merit,” saying they would also hurt US consumers looking to build or reconstruct.
Tensions over lumber between Washington and Ottawa have been erratic since 1983, with US producers accusing their Canadian counterparts of exporting to the US at prices lower than production costs.
The weakness of the Canadian dollar over the past three years has given Canada an advantage.
In early June, the Canadian government released Can$867 million ($654 million) in loans to companies to support jobs in the face of US backlash.