ECONOMY

US imposes new duties on Canadian lumber

US IMPOSES NEW DUTIES ON CANADIAN LUMBER

The U.S. Commerce Department slapped new duty on Canadian softwood lumber Monday, bringing the total to about 27 percent.

The duty is to counter subsidies from the Canadian government the U.S. lumber industry insists is giving Canadian forestry companies an unfair advantage because lumber is taken from government owned lands.

Washington excluded three provinces from the additional duty of about 6.87 percent-Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Canadian media reported.

The provinces were exempted as the U.S. agreed those provinces bought their lumber from private woodlots, rather than being cut on government land.

This is the second round of tariffs, with about 20 percent announced by the U.S. in April.

As a result, the Canadian government reported that that Canadian softwood lumber share in the U.S. was 27 percent in May, down from 31 percent at the same time in 2016 -- a CAN$165-million loss in lumber exports for the month, Canadian media reported.

While the U.S. lumber industry cheered the decision, this is the fifth time the U.S. has accused Canada of dumping softwood lumber on the American market. Each time the Canadian government said it has been able to demonstrate to the World Trade Organization or under the North American Free Trade Agreement that it is not subsidizing lumber exports.

The president of the British Columbia Lumber Trade Council said Canada is not at fault; rather, it is the American lumber industry that is wrongly protectionist.

"The duties are a direct result of the actions taken by the protectionist U.S. lumber lobby whose sole purpose is to create artificial constraints on Canadian lumber to drive up prices for their benefit at the expense of American consumers," Susan Yurkovich told Canadian media during a teleconference call.

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