BCLTC urges bilateral dispute resolution after U.S. decision on softwood lumber duties
July 28, 2023 By CFI Staff
The BC Lumber Trade Council (BCLTC) is urging collaboration and dispute resolution over continued litigation between Canadian and U.S. lumber producers after the U.S. Department of Commerce yesterday announced a final average rate of 7.99 per cent for countervailing and anti-dumping duties applied to 2021 shipments of B.C. softwood lumber to U.S.
“These duties are unwarranted and unfair because BC and Canadian producers are not subsidized,” said Linda Coady, BCLTC president. “The interests of Canadian and U.S. producers alike would be much better served by both sides in this long running dispute working together to resolve it and grow markets domestically and internationally. This would also allow both countries to focus on more critical issues like climate change, cross-border wildfire protection, and housing affordability.”
Coady added, “Our strong hope is that the U.S. industry will end this decades-long litigation and, instead, work with their Canadian counterparts to meet demand for the low-carbon wood products the world wants, including American home builders and owners. Until then, B.C. producers are forced to continue vigorously defending our industry against these meritless allegations.”
B.C. lumber producers are particularly frustrated that Canada is more than six years into the current dispute and yet appeal processes under dispute resolution mechanisms provided for by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), have not yet been held. “Extended and unreasonable U.S. delays on standing up panels for these appeals are directly impacting companies, workers and forestry communities in B.C.,” Coady said.
“These appeals can be a critically important element in dispute resolution that can also help provide the foundation for potential benefits for companies, workers, and consumers on both sides of the border. For this reason, B.C. lumber producers have asked the Government of Canada to make addressing U.S. delays in the dispute resolution process a top priority,” Coady added.
B.C. producers have long emphasized that the U.S. duties hurt not only B.C. businesses and workers, but also U.S. consumers looking to repair, remodel and build new homes. As the U.S. does not produce enough lumber to meet its own domestic needs, the duties pose a threat to post-pandemic recovery on both sides of the border.
B.C. is the largest Canadian exporter of softwood lumber to the U.S. The B.C. forest industry is a major contributor to the provincial economy and supports approximately 100,000 jobs in the province. The BC Lumber Trade Council is the voice on trade matters for companies in B.C. representing the majority of lumber production in the province.
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