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Wyden Calls For Strong Response In Canadian Lumber Case

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

15 September 2017

Senate Finance Committee Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) has called for the "strong enforcement" of US trade laws at the latest US International Trade Commission (ITC) hearing on Canadian softwood lumber imports.

Held on September 12, the hearing was the latest in an ongoing anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigation against softwood lumber from Canada, which started in November 2016.

Dumping occurs when good are sold into a foreign market at below the prevailing market rate in the exporter's domestic market. Countries can respond by levying taxes on imports to prevent unfair competition for their domestic producers, known as anti-dumping duties.

Last month, the US Department of Commerce delayed the final determinations in its antidumping duty and countervailing duty investigations of imports of Canadian softwood lumber, in the hope that a negotiated settlement could be reached.

In April, the Department of Commerce preliminarily concluded that exporters of softwood lumber from Canada had received countervailable subsidies of 3.02 percent and 24.12 percent. In June, a separate investigation preliminarily concluded that exporters from Canada had sold softwood lumber in the US at 7.72 percent to 4.59 percent less than fair value. When combined, the applicable duty rates now range from 17.41 percent to 30.88 percent.

"Market-distorting Canadian forest policies have plagued the US lumber industry for decades," testified Wyden.

He said Canada allows its lumber companies to harvest trees from government territories at artificially low rates, which incentivizes higher production and cheaper sale prices in the US, thus under-cutting US producers. "Over time these market-distorting Canadian practices have unfairly harmed US producers and eroded their ability to compete," said Wyden.

Bottom line [is that] it is critical that this Commission tackle the impacts of unfair trade on US industries, including the lumber industry – not just when companies are on the brink of bankruptcy, not just in down markets, but whenever the evidence demonstrates that companies are harmed by unfairly traded imports. American millworkers deserve nothing less.

TAGS: Finance | tax | law | anti-dumping | enforcement | Canada | trade

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