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Canadian softwood producers to be slapped with 20.83% duty

US slaps import duties on Canadian softwood lumber

The Canadian government responded by saying it will continue to defend the lumber industry against protectionist trade measures.

"We urge the U.S. Administration to rescind these duties", Freeland said in a statement.

The United States will continue to hammer imported Canadian softwood lumber, but the U.S. Commerce department said Thursday that it will impose smaller penalties than originally announced. Irving will pay 3.34 per cent in countervailing duties and no anti-dumping tariff, down from 9.89 per cent.

Members of the province's softwood lumber industry are breathing easier today after news that the United States department of commerce decided Newfoundland and Labrador would be excluded from any tariffs.

The U.S. Department of Commerce has imposed final tariffs averaging 20.83 per cent against Canadian shipments of softwood lumber into the United States. The moratorium on trade litigation ran out in October 2016, and US lumber interests started calling for trade sanctions on Canadian wood.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross commented: "While I am disappointed that a negotiated agreement could not be made between domestic and Canadian softwood producers, the United States is committed to free, fair, and reciprocal trade with Canada".

The aid came after the U.S. first slapped hefty tariffs on the import of Canadian softwood lumber in April.

"This decision is based on a full and unbiased review of the facts in an open and transparent process that defends American workers and businesses from unfair trade practices". "These duties are a tax on the American middle-class families, too, whose homes, renovations and repairs will only be more expensive".

A 2006 softwood-lumber agreement expired in 2015.

USA and Canadian officials have been working for months with industry representatives to come to an agreement to avoid the tariffs announced Thursday, which if permanently imposed will add a duty of around 20% or more, depending on the Canadian mill.

While the duties are lower for most producers than first indicated by United States officials, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says they are still unacceptable. From January 20, 2017, through November 1, 2017, Commerce has initiated 77 antidumping and countervailing duty investigations - a 61 percent increase from 48 in the previous year.

The development in the long-running trade dispute followed last month's apparent deadlock in trilateral talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, in which Canadian, US and Mexican officials have traded accusations of intransigence.

US Customs and Border Protection will now be required to collect cash deposits from importers of softwood lumber from Canada, based on the final rates. In addition, it concluded that Canada is providing unfair subsidies to its producers at rates from 3.34 percent to 18.19 percent.

The dispute helped to spark a surge in lumber prices in the USA, with the increased uncertainty over supplies coming at the same time as a recovery in the American housing market. Canadian unions and lumber companies fear the issue will eventually cause layoffs. The U.S. industry wants Canada to limit its share of the U.S. softwood lumber market strictly below a set level.