‘Deeply disappointed’ and ‘wholly unjustified’
The United States Department of Commerce announced final duties last week in the softwood lumber case. Duties of 20.83 per cent to 23.76 per cent will apply to Alberta lumber products that are shipped into the US market. This announcement follows preliminary duties that were imposed in April. Those duties were over 30 per cent for some products. In response to today’s announcement, the Alberta Softwood Lumber Trade Council released the following statement from co-Chair Paul Whittaker:
“We are deeply disappointed in today’s announcement by the United States. While duties have come down from those imposed in the preliminary judgement, they are still wholly unjustified, punitive, and harmful. Lowering of the duties is a partial admission by the American side that (they) are unfair and the logic behind them is flawed. Unfortunately, there is a repeated pattern of US industry and government taking advantage of US trade law to impose exorbitant duties on Canadian producers and restrict the supply of lumber.
“Canadians and Americans need to understand that the duties announced today are unfair and harmful to jobs on both sides of the border. Ironically, these punitive duties may end up hurting US consumers and workers the most by artificially restricting the supply of lumber, raising prices, and pricing many Americans out of home ownership. The largest benefactor of this decision will be producers from other countries, including Russia, Germany, and Sweden, who will benefit from artificially higher prices and being exempt from any duties.
“The Government of Canada has undertaken a good faith bargaining process, led by Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland. Unfortunately, the US lumber industry appears to have blocked all attempts at a fair resolution of this issue and we remain at an impasse. It now appears that the only path to resolution is through litigation. Over the course of previous softwood lumber disputes with the United States, Canada’s position has been vindicated time and again by various international tribunals.
“Lumber producers in Alberta will work closely with the both the Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada to vigorously defend our position and Alberta jobs. We expect to be vindicated once again and are very appreciative of support on this file from both orders of government and from our 19,000 workers in Alberta.”