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US rules duties on Canadian softwood will stand; feds and province fire back

There’s no relief coming after all for BC softwood lumber exporters, after the US International Trade Commission ruled today duties will stay in place.

The trade commission published its decision today that revoking duties would be harmful to American lumber producers, who have complained for decades that Canada’s Crown lands and stumpage systems give Canadian companies an unfair advantage in the marketplace.

Federal minister of trade and export Mary Ng says Canada is disappointed with the decision, and that duties on Canadian exports are unfair, unjustified, and harm Canadian businesses and communities.

She says the duties also hurt American customers facing housing supply and affordability challenges who need Canadian lumber.

Provincially, Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests, and Jagrup Brar, Minister of State for Trade, issued a statement condemning the duties, pointing out that a NAFTA panel ruled against them earlier this fall.

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“These duties are hurting people on both sides of our shared border, creating uncertainty for forestry professionals and communities here at home, and making it more costly to build homes in the U.S. Both parties will benefit when we work together to make a stronger forest sector for Canada and the United States,” they say. “B.C. will always defend the 56,000 hard-working people in our forest industry against these restrictions. In B.C., we are building a forestry sector focused on sustainability and we continue to provide markets around the world with the highest-quality timber.

“We will also always stand firm against any unfair actions taken against our forestry workers. This includes relentlessly pursuing our claims through all available avenues. We continue to work with the federal government, provincial partners and our forest industry, and we are determined to see a just outcome for B.C.’s forest sector.”

The average duty faced by Canadian producers is currently just under 8%.

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