Softwood lumber duties expected from United States on Tuesday

The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 created new tools to help ensure that USA trade remedy laws provide effective relief to workers and companies harmed from unfair trade, including US softwood lumber producers.

"My message to B.C. forest workers, their families, and producers is this: We are here for you. -Canada trade relations", Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.

The industry group represents companies such as Canfor, West Fraser and Interfor Corp.

Now they're being pressed into an open dispute, all while dealing with multiple sensitive Canada-U.S. files: softwood negotiations, upcoming NAFTA renegotiations, complaints about Canadian dairy, and a frustrated lumber industry at home. In ruling after ruling since 1983, global tribunals have disproved the unfounded subsidy and injury allegations from the USA industry. "It's about 31.5 percent of the total USA market, so it's a pretty big deal in terms of the Canadian relationship", Ross said.

To curb irreversible damage to Canada's third largest export industry, Unifor says that the federal government must now move swiftly to implement loan guarantees for Canadian mills and federal assistance for affected communities. The countervailing duties imposed Tuesday are in response to what the US believes are unfair subsidies that arise because Canadian lumber producers are able to take their wood from public lands.

The lumber industry had been expecting tariffs for months, but it just didn't know how high they would be.

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U.S. President Donald Trump had also reportedly said the duties will be in the neighbourhood of 20 per cent. "Watch!" Trump wrote on Twitter.

Mr Trump's declaration followed...

The Trump administration had already notified Canada of its intent to impose the tariffs, a measure which comes as Trump approaches his 100th day in office on Saturday and is another example of his intent to take a more protectionist approach to trade policy. The US has long complained about European Union agricultural products having an unfair advantage over US producers, costing American farmers billions in exports.

All nations subsidize their exports to one extent or another. United States lumber producers generally cut timber grown on private land. The impact of a sharp price increase if tariffs are introduced would be immediate. "We will continue to press our case and implement our Action Plan on softwood".

"From our point of view, as we've said, in the past 20 years we've always felt that we were playing on a level playing field", Garneau said.

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