B.C. Government Frustrated Over U.S. Raising Canadian Softwood Lumber Tariffs

The United States government recently made a preliminary decision to maintain import duties on Canadian softwood lumber. The U.S. Department of Commerce will not halt the application of unjustifiable duties and exports to America.

Bruce Ralston, minister of forests, and Brenda Bailey, B.C. jobs minister spoke out last week expressing their frustration stating “at a time when we need to work together in the face of rising costs related to global inflation, these tariffs are making housing and lumber more expensive, hurting people on both sides of the border.” The Canadian softwood lumber sector is a crucial and important component of the country’s economy. The industry has an innovative way to serve markets across Canada and even, across the globe.

The Canada-U.S. softwood lumber issue has been ongoing for the past 25 years. America has often sought restrictions on Canadian softwood imports via antidumping laws that allow for import duties and the imports are sold at much lower prices than the cost of production or prices in the domestic market. “As we continue to build a more resilient, sustainable forest economy, what we need are partners across the border who work with us, not against us, in making a stronger forest sector for Canada and the United States,” said the B.C. ministers.

Documents filed on January 24 by the U.S. Department of Commerce are just the latest example of a series of analyses of the lumber conflict. Unfortunately, it also reveals that anti-dumping and low-price import costs will likely continue. The most recent preliminary duty rates will range between 7.29 percent and 9.38 percent and will not come into effect until a finalized review in the summer of 2023. “Canada remains ready and willing to find solutions that allow for a return to predictable cross-border trade in softwood lumber. We are confident that a negotiated solution to this long-standing issue is in the best interests of both our countries,” explained the ministers.

British Columbia and other lumber-manufacturing provinces across Canada are likely to be affected by the raise in tariffs the most. “Government remains focused on expanding the markets for B.C. wood products, both at home and abroad, by promoting innovation and trade relationships with global markets. The ministers continue stating, “our government continues to stand with workers, their families, and forestry communities as we work together to resolve this dispute.

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