The president of the BC Lumber Trade Council says a move by the United States to double tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber is “particularly egregious” given current record-high lumber prices.
Susan Yurkovich says the dramatic increase in the “all others” preliminary countervailing and anti-dumping rate to 18.32 per cent from 8.99 per cent will hurt American consumers who are faced with a market where prices are at record heights because supply can’t keep up with demand.
She called on the U.S. industry to end its decades-long campaign alleging Canadian lumber is unfairly subsidized and instead work with Canada to meet the demand for “low-carbon wood products” the world wants.
Former President Donald Trump’s administration imposed a 20 per cent tariff on Canadian softwood in 2018, before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but lowered it to about nine per cent late last year after a decision favouring Canada by the World Trade Organization.
In a separate news release, Jason Brochu, U.S. Lumber Coalition co-chair, applauded the Commerce Department’s commitment to enforcing trade laws against “subsidized and unfairly traded” Canadian lumber imports.
The coalition says the U.S. industry remains open to a new U.S.-Canada softwood lumber trade agreement “if and when” Canada demonstrates it is serious about negotiations.
“We find the significant increase in today’s preliminary rates troubling,” said Yurkovich in a news release.
“It is particularly egregious given lumber prices are at a record high and demand is skyrocketing in the U.S. as families across the country look to repair, remodel and build new homes.
“As U.S. producers remain unable to meet domestic demand, the ongoing actions of the industry, resulting in these unwarranted tariffs, will ultimately further hurt American consumers by adding to their costs.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 21, 2021.