OTTAWA: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday decried hefty US anti-dumping duties imposed on Canadian timber, saying it will cost “thousands of jobs.”
The United States on Monday slapped a second round of tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber in an escalation of the trade dispute.
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.
Last year, US imports of Canadian softwood lumber were valued at an estimated $5.66 billion, according to the US Commerce Department.
The timber conflict is “an issue that affects thousands of jobs across the country in small communities,” Trudeau told a press conference.
However Trudeau said he was “very much focused on being constructive, on working through the relationship, ensuring that we’re moving towards a deal.”
Canadian and US officials are “going to be working throughout the summer as we hope to come to agreements on a number of files that are outstanding, including the softwood lumber file,” he said.
Besides wood, the United States has also alleged dumping by Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier, and President Donald Trump has threatened trade actions against the heavily-protected Canadian dairy industry.
In August, the two nations and Mexico are scheduled to sit down to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which came into effect in 1994.