Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirms that Canada will continue to negotiate a new softwood lumber deal with the United States despite another round of import tariffs smacked on Canadian wood by the United States, earlier last week.
The U.S department of commerce ruled Canadian softwood producers were dumping lumber into the United States at prices less than those in the market in Canada which is another 6.87% in import duties to most Canadian softwood. So far, this decision is just secondary as the final figure will be determined later this year.
This will bring together a total average import duty of 26.75% which when combined together with the countervailing duties the United States levied at the end of April, arguing Canadian wood is dishonorably supported.
Canada is prepared to challenge the duties in court but this can only be done after the final determinations are made by the U.S. The current duties would cost Canadian producers an estimated $1.7 billion a year.
Prime Minister Trudeau stated that the introduction of both countervailing and anti-dumping duties is almost the same as what use to happen in past softwood disputes. So far, this is the fifth time the United States has levied duties on softwood since 1981, and each time the two countries have ultimately come to a negotiated settlement.
This is a problem that will affect so many jobs, he said. It is something we are going to take very solemn and will do our best and work hard on with the American administration, he added.
Conservative MP Randy Hoback, the official Opposition critic for Canada-U.S. relations, is blaming Trudeau who once had a deal in hand with the former administration but let it fade. He is currently in Montana for a meeting with the western government where he said opinions of softwood differ depending on the state.
If we would have done that rather than doing another year of discussions across Canada, it would have given the former United States administration the cover to push it through and then would have also given us the capability to negotiate a softwood lumber agreement, he said.
He said what he thinks is that the ultimate result will be more consolidated for the industry in Canada, with the biggest companies retorting up small outputs to get entrance to their wood quotas without having to keep their sawmills open. He further added that small towns will turn into ghost towns.
NDP MP Nathan Cullen says wiping out many Canadian organizations as could be allowed is the primary objective of the U.S. activity, and says there are as of now processes in his northern B.C. riding that can’t manage the cost of the debt bills gave to them by the U.S. However, Susan Yurkovich, Chief Executive Officer of the British Columbia Wood Trade Council, said cutbacks and job cuts will be kept away until the U.S. government sets last debt rates not long from now and unless timber costs endure a steep decrease.