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OFIA: U.S. proposed increase on softwood lumber tariffs a ‘blow’ to American consumers


May 27, 2021
By Ontario Forest Industries Association

The Ontario Forest Industries Association (OFIA) president and CEO, Ian Dunn, issued the following statement in response to the United States Department of Commerce’s decision on new countervailing and anti-dumping duty rates. These new rates will effectively double Canadian softwood lumber tariffs from nine per cent to 18.32 per cent later this year, with rates for some mills in Ontario and Quebec as high as 30 per cent.

“The preliminary results of the United States Department of Commerce’s administrative review will significantly increase duties on Canadian softwood lumber, adding to the already high cost of homebuilding. Taking this action will serve as another blow to the American consumer.

According to the National Home Builders Association (NHBA), current lumber pricing has added nearly $36,000 to the price of a new home. In response to this concern, on May 17, 96 bi-partisan Members of Congress wrote the Biden Administration requesting United States Trade Representative, Katherine Tai, to pursue a balanced agreement with Canada. Placing additional duties on Canadian softwood lumber will exacerbate the nation’s housing affordability crisis, pricing millions of American households out of the market.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has concluded that virtually every reason historically advanced by the United States for imposing countervailing duties on softwood lumber imports from Canada is unfounded. The Central Canadian softwood lumber industry, representing Quebec and Ontario, has been unwavering in supporting free, unencumbered access to the U.S. marketplace. Ontario’s forest industry is not subsidized, and we will continue to defend the sector against these unjust trade actions.

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The trading relationship between Canada and the U.S. is the largest in the world. However, this ongoing dispute harms this relationship to the detriment of many, for the benefit of a few special interests in the U.S.lumber sector. We encourage the United States to live up to its international obligations. The Biden Administration should respect the rule of law and trade frameworks to do what is best for American households.”