The grim news got even grimmer last week when the U.S. Government added another seven per cent ‘anti-dumping’ duty onto the cost of shipping softwood lumber into that country from Canada. This comes on top of the 20 per cent countervailing duty announced in April.
The organization that represents Alberta producers had a few things to say about it in a June 27 press release:
‘US producers allege that Canada is ‘dumping’ lumber into the American market. They allege that Canadian lumber is priced below the cost of production or below the cost charged for lumber in the Canadian marketplace. Both of these claims have consistently been found to be false.
“We are profoundly disappointed that our American trading partners have chosen this course of action,” said Paul Whittaker, Co-Chair of the Alberta Softwood Lumber Trade Council. “This is the fifth time since 1982 that the US has claimed unfair trading practices by Canadian producers, and each time our practices have been found by independent tribunals to be fair. We will continue to work closely with the Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta to defend industry and government practices and oppose these duties. Unfortunately, it is likely to be a lengthy and costly process, but we are confident that we will be vindicated.”
‘Forestry is a major contributor to 70 communities in Alberta and creates thousands of direct and spin-off jobs. The value of the forest sector to Alberta’s economy is approximately $5 billion. As an export-focused sector, access to important markets like the United States is critical for the survival of forestry in Alberta.
‘Canadian forest products are also critically important to affordable housing and jobs for American families. The Washington, DC-based National Association of Homebuilders has stated that these duties will price countless Americans out of the housing market and harm many jobs in the construction sector and other associated industries.’
This new cost affects local producer Vanderwell Contractors, which has already said the countervailing duty couldn’t have come at a worse time, and will make it harder to maintain the type of production it has become used to. The mill has fairly recently come back to almost full production (three shifts), after having pared back to a single shift after the 2008 housing market collapse.