Wood Business

Industry News Markets
BC Lumber Trade Council comments on NAFTA panel ruling on softwood lumber


September 5, 2019
By BC Lumber Trade Council

Susan Yurkovich, President of the BC Lumber Trade Council made the following statement with respect to today’s decision by the NAFTA Panel reviewing the final affirmative injury determination of the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC):

“The BC Lumber Trade Council is gratified to see the NAFTA Panel’s ruling today that the USITC’s determination that the U.S. lumber industry is “injured” by Canadian lumber imports is flawed in a number of important respects.

The Panel’s decision to send the case back to the USITC for a new determination is in keeping with the fact that in previous softwood lumber litigation, not one of the USITC’s affirmative determinations on injury survived appeal to a NAFTA or WTO panel.

In its decision, the NAFTA Panel rightly questioned how the USITC could reach an affirmative determination of injury when the U.S. industry was enjoying the most profitable period in its history without evaluating the industry’s performance in light of the business cycle, particularly in the wake of the recession of 2008-2009.

The Panel further found that the USITC failed to take into account its own finding that there was limited substitutability – or attenuated competition – between Canadian and domestic products, rendering its volume and price analyses flawed.  The Panel also found fault with every other aspect of the USITC’s conclusion that Canadian imports suppressed U.S. lumber prices during the period of investigation.

The BC Lumber Trade Council is disappointed, however, by the Panel’s conclusion that Western Red Cedar/Redwood was not entitled to its own injury analysis.”

The Panel has given the USITC 90 days to issue a new determination.

By way of background, Canada is also challenging the U.S. Commerce Department’s antidumping and countervailing duty determinations before separate NAFTA panels.