Yesterday's announcement follows action taken by the federal government on April 24 to place preliminary countervailing duties on Canadian softwood lumber imports. In its earlier determination, countervailing duties between 3.02 and 24.12 percent were levied against five Canadian timber producers (Canfor, J.D. Irving, Resolute, Tolko, and West Fraser) with other companies paying a tariff of 19.88 percent. Combined countervailing and antidumping duties for Canadian imports now range from 17.41 percent to 30.88 percent.
The latest action taken by the Department of Commerce is in response to a petition filed by the U.S. Lumber Coalition, a group representing American softwood lumber producers, alleging harm caused by unfair subsidies for the Canadian softwood lumber industry. A final determination on both the countervailing and antidumping duties is expected by September 6.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross also announced a preliminary decision yesterday that softwood lumber products produced in the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island may be excluded from the countervailing and antidumping duties. U.S. Customs and Border Protection will continue to collect duties on products from the aforementioned provinces until a final determination on both duties is made in September.
Lumber prices have increased over the past year in anticipation of duties being placed on Canadian softwood lumber imports into the U.S. The Random Lengths Framing Lumber Composite price is now $397 per thousand board feet, an increase of 14 percent over the past year.
"Despite the latest duties announcement from the Department of Commerce, NLBMDA continues to call for a new long-term softwood lumber agreement," said Jonathan Paine, President & CEO of the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA). "Predictability and stability is needed for the housing industry and the two countries should continue negotiating until a new agreement is reached."
NLBMDA supports a new softwood lumber agreement that helps meet domestic demand for softwood lumber, does not put American lumber producers at a competitive disadvantage, unnecessarily restrict the availability of products, or increase the cost of housing to the detriment of prospective homebuyers and consumers.