Commerce Officials Add New Duties To Canadian Lumber Imports

The new anti-dumping duties would add to a countervailing duty placed on Canadian softwood lumber in April.

The Trump administration this week announced plans to levy additional duties on certain lumber imports from Canada amid an ongoing trade dispute between the neighboring nations.

The Commerce Department said Monday that an anti-dumping investigation found that Canadian exporters sold softwood lumber at 4.6 percent to 7.7 percent below fair market value.

The agency vowed to direct U.S. Customs officials to collect cash deposits from exporters based on those rates.

The administration originally announced a duty of up to 24 percent on Canadian softwood lumber imports in April. The White House alleged that those imports were unfairly subsidized by the Canadian government, but the April decision also followed President Trump's criticism of Canadian dairy pricing changes that affected U.S. farmers.

The additional duties announced Monday would raise the overall duty range to between 17.4 percent and 30.9 percent. The agency added that imports from the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island "should be excluded from the ongoing investigation."

“While I remain optimistic that we will be able to reach a negotiated solution on softwood lumber, until we do we will continue to vigorously apply the (anti-dumping duty) and (countervailing duty) laws to stand up for American companies and their workers," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.

The agency said a final determination would be issued in September. If the initial findings are confirmed — and if the U.S. International Trade Commission finds that U.S. producers were harmed — the department will issue an anti-dumping order in late October.

Canadian officials called the initial duty "baseless and unfounded" in April and responded they were "deeply disappointed" with the latest decision.

"As with the preliminary countervailing duties announced this past April, these penalties are based on a flawed rationale that is damaging to workers, communities and consumers in Canada and the United States," Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement.

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