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U.S. trade commission rules against Canada on softwood

U.S. trade commission rules against Canada on softwood”

The U.S. and Canada have been unable to come to an agreement on the trade of softwood lumber after a former, nine-year agreement expired in 2015.

The U.S. International Trade Commission has unanimously voted that the American lumber industry has been harmed by Canadian softwood lumber imports.

American producers allege that the Canadian industry is subsidized by the provincial and federal governments, while in the US, prices are set by the market - a situation the USA contends is unfair.

A USA trade panel on Thursday unanimously ruled to uphold hefty duties on Canada's softwood lumber industry saying the us industry has been harmed by unfair practices.

"Now, with a level playing field, the US lumber industry, and the 350,000 hardworking men and women who support it, can have the chance to compete fairly", Brochu said.

"We are confident that this latest decision by the ITC will again be reversed".

Freeland also warned that the duties threaten Canadian middle-class jobs, especially in rural and indigenous communities, while punishing American consumers with higher lumber prices.

The commission made the decision in a unanimous vote on December 7.

The U.S. Commerce Department last month lowered preliminary duties.

The U.S. Lumber Coalition, an industry lobby group that petitioned the U.S. Commerce Department previous year to open a dumping and subsidy investigation, lauded the decision on Thursday.

Protecting lumber mills is aligned with Mr. Trump's "America first" trade policy, and lawmakers from timber-growing areas of the Southeast and Pacific Northwest have made it clear they support a tough line with Canada to protect American mill workers and timberland owners.

Canada and the US are still trying to work out a new softwood trade agreement but have so far failed to reach a deal.

"As a result of the USITC's affirmative determinations, Commerce will issue antidumping and countervailing duty orders on imports of this product from Canada", a release explaining the ruling said. Canada also kicked off a process to challenge the tariffs at the World Trade Organization, the global trade arbiter that is under increasing pressure from the Trump administration.

Any lumber agreement is expected to remain outside of a final NAFTA pact.

Freeland noted that Canada has already filed legal challenges with WTO and under the NAFTA against preliminary duties that the United States began collecting last spring.



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