US duties decision a 'blow' to the shakes and shingles industry: alliance

Shake and Shingle Alliance
September 20, 2018
By Shake and Shingle Alliance
Sept. 20, 2018 - The Shake and Shingle Alliance has just received notice of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s (DOC) scope ruling which held that Canadian shakes and shingles are subject to antidumping and countervailing duties on softwood lumber.

“The DOC decision is a completely illogical and inconsistent blow to our industry; shakes and shingles have not been included in the softwood lumber investigations since 1983 when they were found to be an entirely different industry from softwood lumber,” stated Brooke Meeker, chairman of the Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau, which is part of the Shake and Shingle Alliance that requested the scope ruling.

Months after the conclusion of the dumping and subsidies investigations, U.S. Customs & Border Protection suddenly announced in March 2018 that the 20.23 per cent duty was immediately applicable to Canadian shakes and shingles.

“The unprecedented inclusion of our products by U.S. Customs and Border Protection blindsided our industry, and we effectively never had a chance to appear or argue the issue in the dumping and countervailing duty investigations, which in itself is constitutionally unjust. We will continue to actively seek remedies to this matter as this decision catastrophically affects Canadian businesses and citizens. Ironically, those that the U.S. government seeks to protect with these unilateral decisions, their U.S. businesses and citizens who rely on our Canadian-made shakes and shingles for their livelihood, are also dramatically affected,” said Meeker.

In its 20-page decision, the DOC rejected all of the industry’s array of legal arguments. The Shake and Shingle Alliance primarily argued, with the support of the Government of Canada, that shakes and shingles have never been part of the softwood lumber investigations and were not examined in the most recent investigations. DOC briefs even cited language from the U.S. industry’s investigation petition which specifically suggested that shakes and shingles were not products within the scope of the latest investigations. The DOC also rejected the argument that shakes and shingles fell within the exclusion for finished products that were produced by more advanced processing and specially identified.

“The DOC’s ruling deals a severe setback to the hardworking men and women employed by the shake and shingle industry, most of which are small, family-owned businesses,” noted Charles Tardif, vice-president for development at Maibec, a Quebec producer of cedar shingles. “Sadly, it is the American building industry and American consumers that will end up paying these duties,” he added.

The Shake and Shingle Alliance and its counsel, in conjunction with the Government of Canada and Provincial Governments, are examining multiple appeal options. Industry desperately looks to government to step in and provide support for its citizens and small businesses which are needlessly suffering because of this unjust decision issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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