The U.S. Department of Commerce plans to reduce tariffs for most Canadian softwood producers from almost 18% to 11.64%. In a preliminary determination released late on January 31, the agency said Canadian lumber shipments to the U.S. will continue to be subject to the 17.91%, or company specific, duties until it releases its final determination expected in late November.

But the preliminary assessment is an indication of the direction the duties will move. Vancouver-based West Fraser is the only company that will see its rate rise, from 11.14% to 13.09%, according to a report in the Globe and Mail .

Canfor Corp, also based in Vancouver, would see its rate drop from its current 19.54% to 6.75%. Montreal’s Resolute Forest Products Ltd.’s rate would fall  to 20.24%, from 29.66% on February 1, and Saint John-based J.D. Irving Ltd.’s rate has been set at 7.09%, compared with the current 15.05%.

International Trade Minister Mary Ng said she is committed to finding a way to end the U.S. lumber tariffs. “The U.S. Department of Commerce is indicating with these preliminary results that it intends to maintain its unjustified duties on imports of Canadian softwood lumber,” Ms. Ng said in a statement after the announcement. “They are a tax on American consumers and reduce the affordability of housing for American home buyers at a time when housing prices are already at record highs.”

Canada and its southern neighbour have been fighting over softwood lumber for years. U.S. producers argue that Canada subsidizes lumber production and dumps softwood into the U.S. at below market value. Canada denies both charges.

The latest round of the dispute started under former U.S. president Donald Trump and was picked up President Joe Biden’s administration. Canadian lumber producers have been paying U.S. duties since April 2017, the Globe said.

Source: Globe and Mail
Source: Financial Post