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U.S.-Canada Lumber Trade Issue > Latest Developments

The U.S. Department of Commerce released its preliminary determination in the countervailing duty case against Canadian lumber imports April 25, 2017. This 12-page report details its findings. (in PDF file format). For more information, see the historical timeline on the U.S.-Canada Lumber Trade Dispute page. Current news may also appear on the Special Reports page.

Do you have information that should appear in Daily WoodWire? Send it to Jeff Redd, WoodWire editor, by fax at 1-800-874-7979, or email to jeff@rlpi.com


U.S. files WTO complaints against Canada, others for retaliatory tariffs
The United States has filed complaints against Canada and other countries at the World Trade Organization for retaliating against President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum. Mr. Trump’s trade chief, Robert Lighthizer, announced five parallel WTO complaints Monday against Canada, the European Union, China, Mexico and Turkey – firing another salvo in a global trade war that has seen the U.S. target both its rivals and its closest allies. The tariffs include a 10% tax on softwood plywood shipments from the U.S. to Canada. For more, click here...
7/16/2018


Canada anxious for NAFTA talks, U.S. in no hurry
The federal government is still expecting NAFTA talks to accelerate this summer even though U.S. President Donald Trump says he’s in no rush to sign a deal until after the U.S. midterm elections this fall. A government official familiar with the plan says now that Mexico’s presidential election is done, Ottawa wants to restart talks as soon as possible, even though Trump says he won’t sign a new deal until after U.S. voters go to the polls in November. For more, click here...
7/6/2018


Canada announces 10% surtax on plywood imports from U.S.
Today the Government of Canada announced that in direct, measured and proportional response to U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, reciprocal surtaxes on $16.6 billion of imports of steel, aluminum and other products from the United States will come into effect July 1, 2018. Shipments of softwood plywood from the U.S. to Canada are included on the list of items that will be assessed a 10% surtax. To read the full release, click here... For a list of all items included in the tariffs, click here...
6/29/2018


NAFTA talks expected to resume soon
One month after negotiators from Canada, Mexico, and the United States were unable to meet an informal deadline for modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), talks are reportedly due to resume for the trilateral trade pact within weeks, though exact dates are not yet clear. Trade officials from the U.S. and Canada indicated last week their intention to continue negotiating over the coming months, without confirming whether they would try to clinch an agreement in principle this year. The three parties had missed an informal May 17 deadline for reaching such an accord, following statements from U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan which suggested that this was when a deal would need to be ready and notified in order to be considered by the current Congress. For more, click here...
6/22/2018


Shake and Shingle Alliance seeks duty exemption
The Shake and Shingle Alliance, comprised of shake and shingle producers in British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Quebec, has filed with the U.S. Department of Commerce a request for a formal scope determination that certain Cedar shakes and shingles fall outside the scope of the anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders against softwood lumber from Canada. This request was made in response to an announcement by U.S. Customs & Border Protection that it considered Cedar shakes and shingles to be within the scope of the orders, despite the fact that no softwood lumber investigation or order going back to 1983 has included Cedar shakes and shingles. There is no current indication of when a decision will be made by the U.S. Department of Commerce on this request, though it will likely take several months or longer.
6/19/2018


U.S. Lumber Coalition refutes congressional letter
Today, House Members Kenny Marchant (R-TX) and Brian Higgins (D-NY) penned a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer regarding the softwood lumber trade with Canada, calling for renewed negotiations with Canada for a softwood lumber trade agreement -- in lieu of the current enforcement of the U.S. trade laws through countervailing and antidumping duties on imports of unfairly traded Canadian softwood lumber. The letter states that anti-dumping and countervailing duties imposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce on Canadian softwood lumber are the chief driver of current lumber prices, a claim that is inaccurate. The price of lumber, like all commodities, fluctuates due to market forces. The trade measures -- imposed after a thorough year-long investigation by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission -- are designed merely to offset the harm done to domestic producers from imports that are sold in the United States at less than fair value or which benefit from subsidies provided through foreign government programs. For more, click here...
6/15/2018


Canadian shake and shingle producers fight U.S. duties
Canadian producers of Cedar shakes and shingles are seeking to fend off new U.S. tariffs, waging war against the Trump administration more than three decades after Ronald Reagan imposed duties that lasted five years on the wood-roofing materials. Canadian firms say the products have been unfairly targeted with duties of 20.23%. They have formed a group, the Shake and Shingle Alliance, to oppose their inclusion in the U.S. tariffs on softwood lumber. More on this article is available only to Globe and Mail subscribers, click here...
6/15/2018


U.S. lawmakers seek restart of lumber trade talks
171 members of the House of Representatives have sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, the United States (U.S.) Trade Representative, asking that the U.S. return to the negotiating table with Canada and redouble efforts to reach a new softwood lumber agreement. The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association led the way in building support for the letter, and comes as lumber prices have reached record highs. For more, click here...
6/14/2018


Trump, Trudeau locked in bitter trade dispute
The leaders of Canada and the United States are locked in an ugly, escalating public dispute over trade barriers, tariffs and how they think the world should resolve its problems. With U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the centre of the dispute, the back and forth has intensified since just before the start of the month — when the Americans imposed hefty steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada. The situation only got messier from there, particularly in the lead up to, during and right after the G7 leaders' summit. For more, click here...
6/11/2018


Trump seeks separate trade deals with Canada, Mexico
The Canadian government is rejecting a push by the Trump administration to strike separate, bilateral trade deals with Canada and Mexico instead of pushing ahead with a stalled effort to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. Ottawa’s refusal Tuesday to pursue a one-on-one trade deal with the United States came after Donald Trump’s top economic adviser said the president was serious about pursuing bilateral agreements with its NAFTA partners. For more, click here...
6/7/2018


Canada hopeful tariff threat will cause U.S. to back down
Finance Minister Bill Morneau says he’s hopeful the threat of retaliation against U.S. trade measures will convince the Trump administration to back down from the steel and aluminum tariffs it has imposed on its G7 allies. The tariffs have landed just as Morneau presides over a G7 finance ministers’ meeting in Whistler, B.C., where the event’s pre-set agenda has been overtaken by talk of protectionism and fears of a protracted trade war. For more, click here...
6/4/2018


Tariff on plywood exports to Canada not finalized
A Canadian spokesperson clarified today that the items that will be assessed a 10% or 25% tariff upon export from the U.S. to Canada will be finalized after the public comment period ends June 15. Softwood plywood was one of the items listed in Table 2 of the notice as a product that may be subject to a 10% surtax, beginning July 1. The Government of Canada announced these countermeasures in response to the U.S. imposing tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum products. According to the spokesperson, "It is the government’s intention to apply a 10% surtax on goods selected from the list found in Table 2 of the notice. After the comment period ends, a list of products that will be subject to the 10% surtax will be finalized and made public." For a complete list of the products being considered, click here...
6/4/2018


Trump blasts "highly restrictive" Canada, threatens lumber
U.S. President Donald Trump is blasting Canada – and threatening its lumber industry – a day after starting a trade war with his neighbours to the north. Mr. Trump took to Twitter Friday morning to falsely claim that Canada has a “really high” trade surplus with the U.S.; according to the U.S.’s own numbers, Canada actually ran an $8.4-billion trade deficit with the U.S. last year. “Canada has treated our Agricultural business and Farmers very poorly for a very long period of time. Highly restrictive on Trade! They must open their markets and take down their trade barriers!” the President tweeted. “They report a really high surplus on trade with us. Do Timber & Lumber in U.S.?” For more, click here...
6/1/2018


Trade war erupts; U.S. plywood tariffs announced
It didn't take long for the European Union, Canada, and Mexico to hit back at the US after the Trump administration announced on Thursday that the three key allies would soon be subject to steel and aluminum tariffs. The countries lambasted the US decision, calling the move a violation of trade rules and a breakdown of international cooperation. Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters that Canada would impose retaliatory tariffs on US goods including steel, aluminum, and more, including plywood. For more, click here... For a complete list of items Canada has included on its tariff list, click here...
6/1/2018


Freeland returns to Washington as tensions mount
Canada's foreign affairs minister is heading out of town for what could turn out to be a pivotal trade mission to Washington. When Chrystia Freeland arrives in D.C. today, she will attempt to tackle a trifecta of trade troubles threatening the Canada-U.S. relationship. Freeland's primary objective is to rekindle NAFTA negotiations, which stalled after high-level talks broke off earlier this month. For more, click here...
5/29/2018


"Significant" issues remain with NAFTA talks
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday said major issues remained in talks between the United States, Mexico, and Canada to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. “There are still some very significant, open issues,” Mnuchin said in an interview on CNBC. “We’ll see where we get over the next few weeks,” he said, adding that he thinks there is still a desire among the three countries to reach an agreement. For more, click here...
5/21/2018


U.S. wants NAFTA deal complete in next two weeks
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is warning that a new NAFTA deal must be completed in the next two weeks – even as an American demand that Canada and Mexico agree to quotas on the amount of steel and aluminum they can export to the United States throws another stumbling block in the way of the negotiations. Mr. Lighthizer told a U.S. Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Washington Tuesday that if talks to overhaul the North American free-trade agreement aren’t finalized soon, the deal might have to be punted until after congressional elections in November. Globe and Mail subscribers can read the full story here, click here...
5/2/2018


Canada, Mexico exemptions extended in steel, aluminum case
U.S. President Donald Trump is granting Canada and Mexico a “final” one-month break from his tariffs on steel and aluminum – and demanding that both countries agree to quotas that would limit Canadian and Mexican exports of the metals to the U.S. Mr. Trump issued proclamations around 9 p.m. Monday extending the tariff exemptions to June 1. For more, click here...
5/1/2018


NAFTA discussions intensify
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is skipping an important diplomatic trip to Brussels to stay in Washington as NAFTA talks intensify. The minister’s decision suggests that NAFTA negotiations may have hit a critical point, with some reports suggesting that there is a push by officials to hammer out a deal by next Tuesday. That’s when U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs -- which Canada is exempt from -- take effect. For more, click here...
4/27/2018


NAFTA talks reaching 'crucial moment'
The three NAFTA countries are making a full-court press to reach a deal on overhauling the 24-year-old pact, with the U.S. pushing for a conclusion to the eight-month-old talks as soon as this week. In the most intensive flurry of negotiations so far, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland hunkered down Tuesday with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington. She was joined by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s chief of staff, Katie Telford, and the head of the North American free-trade agreement unit in Mr. Trudeau’s office, Brian Clow – signalling the increasing earnestness of the talks. For more, click here...
4/25/2018


Forecast: Canadian exports will grow despite NAFTA concerns
The value of Canadian exports will grow by 6% this year despite ongoing uncertainty about trade protectionism and the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement, according to a new forecast. In fact, in its twice-yearly outlook, Export Development Canada (EDC) predicts growth will be led by gains in three sectors — all the recent subjects of trade conflict with the United States: ores and metals, aerospace, and forestry. For more, click here...
4/12/2018


Two WTO panels to examine lumber duties
The World Trade Organization says its dispute settlement body has agreed to establish two panels to examine Canada's complaint about duties imposed by the United States on softwood lumber imports. The Canadian government requested March 27 that a panel be set up to examine the dispute after consultations with the U.S. in January failed to resolve the matter. It also requested a second panel to review the U.S. use of differential pricing methodology in its anti-dumping determinations. For more, click here...
4/11/2018


Mexico: 80% chance of new NAFTA
A rush to conclude a new NAFTA agreement could see negotiations spread this week across two continents and more than 5,600 kilometres in a spurt of non-stop bargaining. Officials return to the bargaining table Tuesday in Washington, and sources say the week could end with the politicians leading the talks — Chrystia Freeland, Ildefonso Guajardo, and Robert Lighthizer — meeting Friday during the Summit of the Americas in Peru. For more, click here...
4/10/2018


NAHB decries lumber duties
The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) is not happy with President Donald Trump’s steep tariffs on Canadian lumber which are killing the construction industry, according to NAHB CEO Jerry Howard. “It’s ludicrous that a neighboring country like Canada is not being able to import into our country,” Howard told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney on “Varney & Co.” on Monday. “We are importing lumber from Russia to build our American homes – it just doesn’t make sense.” For more, click here...
4/10/2018


Trudeau sees strong chance of NAFTA deal
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signaled Thursday he saw a strong chance of reaching a deal with the US and Mexico to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement. "We have a high chance of reaching a win-win-win deal for Canada, the United States and Mexico," Trudeau told reporters. "With the pressures of the elections in Mexico, and the US elections, if we could announce something at the Summit of the Americas, that would be great," he added, in reference to the April 13-14 gathering of regional leaders in Peru. For more, click here...
4/5/2018


Trump hopes for quick NAFTA deal
The Trump administration is hoping to pull off a quick win for NAFTA by aiming for a provisional pact as early as next week. A look at the political calendar explains why that’s all he’s likely to get. Talks between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to revamp NAFTA that started in August missed an initial end-2017 deadline, and have been moving slowly in 2018. But Donald Trump has been ramping up his trade agenda this year, and a conditional deal on NAFTA 2.0 would be a victory for the president just months before midterm elections in Congress that will shape the rest of his term. For more, click here...
4/4/2018


Price run turns down volume on lumber dispute
British Columbia’s major lumber producers continue to book substantial profits on near record lumber prices almost a year after the U.S. Department of Commerce first hit Canadian producers with punishing duties. The benchmark price for 1,000 board-feet of top-quality western Canadian two-by-fours hit US$540 about a month ago, according to the trade publication Madison’s Lumber Reporter, compared with US$315 at the start of 2017 before U.S. interests re-ignited the ongoing trade dispute. For more, click here...
4/3/2018


U.S. Trade Rep sees little optimism for new SLA
During a March 21 hearing before the House Committee on Ways and Means on the U.S. trade policy agenda, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said there is little chance that the softwood lumber trade dispute with Canada will be resolved anytime soon. “Right now, I would say there’s probably not much going on in terms of those negotiations,” said Lighthizer. “Are they part of NAFTA? Not as far as I am concerned. As far as I am concerned this a function of the trade laws working the way Congress designed them to work. To me, it is unlikely I think, I wouldn’t put it at zero, but it’s unlikely that I’m going to end up solving this issue or trying to resolve this issue,” Lighthizer added. “Right now the positions are kind of intractable.” For more, click here...
3/23/2018


Canada formally requests WTO panel in lumber case
Canada plans to ask the World Trade Organization (WTO) to set up an adjudication panel to judge its dispute with the United States over Canadian lumber exports, indicating that talks have failed to resolve the issue and Ottawa is pressing its case. Canada has submitted the request for a meeting of the WTO’s dispute settlement body on March 27, according to an agenda circulated by the WTO on Friday. Ottawa launched the complaint in November, saying it would forcefully defend its lumber industry against punitive U.S. tariffs, which it said were “unfair, unwarranted and deeply troubling.” For more, click here...
3/19/2018


NAFTA talks could prompt Canada to pursue new export markets
Turbulent NAFTA talks with the United States could prompt Canada to more urgently pursue new export markets and to boost competitiveness by opening up protected industries, say trade experts. Canada’s newsprint industry became the latest target of tariffs this week when the U.S. Department of Commerce imposed preliminary anti-dumping duties averaging 22.16% on producers that ship south of the border. The new levies were in addition to preliminary countervailing duties of an average 6.53% — raising the total tariff to 28.69%. For more, click here...
3/16/2018


Shakes and shingles ruled to fall under duty order
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has determined that coniferous shingles and sawn shakes from Canada fall within the scope of AD/CVD cases A122-857/C122-858. Entries of this merchandise must be entered under entry type 03 with payment of AD/CV duties. CBP continues to monitor importations of this merchandise, and will take appropriate enforcement actions, including penalty actions, on importers who fail to properly file entries of this merchandise subject to these AD/CVD orders. For more, click here...
3/16/2018


WTO affirms U.S. methodology in paper case
Canada’s efforts to defend its controversial restrictions on the export of logs from British Columbia (LERs) took a recent blow, as a World Trade Organization (WTO) panel affirmed the United States Department of Commerce’s (DoC) methodology in calculating the countervailing duties (CVDs) on coated paper from Indonesia on account of Indonesia’s log export ban. Under U.S. domestic trade policy, DoC has historically and consistently treated export restrictions on inputs as financial contributions that confer a benefit to the end product. With its ongoing war on foreign subsidies, the U.S. will no doubt feel further emboldened by this recent WTO win. For more, click here...
3/2/2018


Trump invites trade war as tariff anger spreads
President Donald Trump invited a trade war after slapping tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, daring other countries to act on threats of retaliation. Trump is facing anger from manufacturers and trade partners in China and Europe after announcing tariffs of 25% on imported steel and 10% on aluminum for “a long period of time.” The formal order is expected to be signed next week. For more, click here...
3/2/2018


Rising prices soften blow of duties on Canadian producers
Softwood lumber duties aren't dampening the spirits of Canadian lumber producers as strong demand from rising U.S. housing starts and tight supply are expected to keep prices high throughout 2018. The number of U.S. housing starts beat expectations by surpassing 1.33 million in January on a seasonally adjusted basis, with single family starts increasing 7.6%. Housing permits approached 1.4 million. Conifex Timber Inc. chairman and CEO Kenneth Shields said last week he also expects repair and remodelling markets will remain robust. For more, click here...
2/19/2018


U.S. official 'cautiously hopeful' on NAFTA deal
Members of the Trump administration have dropped several hints in recent days that withdrawing from NAFTA is not in their current plans — and the latest such example came Thursday. A congressional gathering heard Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin express some optimism about getting a deal. He based that on what he said were weekly meetings with U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer. "I'm cautiously hopeful that ... (he) will be renegotiating this deal," Mnuchin told the House of Representatives' budget committee. "It is a major priority of ours to renegotiate the deal." For more, click here...
2/16/2018


U.S. negotiator says NAFTA deal within reach
In a significant departure from his previous public comments, Donald Trump’s trade chief expressed confidence Tuesday that the U.S. can reach a North American Free Trade Agreement deal with Canada and Mexico. “I think we’re making progress on NAFTA. There was a lot of anxiety at one point as to whether or not we’d be in a position where we’d have to withdraw in order to get a good agreement,” Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. Trade Representative, told the president and senators at a White House meeting. He continued: “I think we’re making real headway.” For more, click here...
2/14/2018


White House downplays Trump's threat of 'reciprocal tax'
The White House is downplaying a threat from President Donald Trump to impose a new import tax. A senior administration official says nothing formal is in the works. The official says Trump was simply reiterating sentiments he's voiced for years about trade. The president confused many trade-watchers Monday with remarks about a new tax. For more, click here...
2/13/2018


Trudeau strikes cooperative tone in seeking NAFTA deal
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday defended the North American Free Trade Agreement as an economic boon for the U.S. and his country, but he also urged for it to be retooled to lift workers who have been left behind. His remarks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, struck a cooperative tone at a time when President Donald Trump is threatening to withdraw from the 24-year-old pact that governs trade on the continent. Trudeau said 9 million jobs in America are tied to trade and investment with Canada and "the truth is that both Canada and the United States are winning. And so is Mexico. And that's exactly how we should keep it." For more, click here...
2/12/2018


B.C. minister: No new SLA talks
There are no solutions on the immediate horizon to resolve the softwood lumber impasse between the U.S. and Canada, says B.C. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson. Donaldson said our position remains advocating for a free market exchange of lumber, but negotiations have stopped due to the influence of a powerful lobby group of U.S. lumber producers. For more, click here...
2/9/2018


New Brunswick Premier seeks duty exemption
New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant is heading to Washington this week to plead his case for an exemption to a trade impasse threatening the province's softwood lumber industry. "We believe it's also very important for the U.S. economy to be able to get softwood lumber from Canada and specifically from New Brunswick," Gallant said in Saint John Monday. Gallant will be meeting with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, along with Maine Gov. Paul Lepage. For more, click here...
2/6/2018


Freeland optimistic on NAFTA talks
It’s possible the U.S., Canada and Mexico can rework Nafta to the benefit of all parties, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said, adding to recent positive signs for the 24-year old trade pact. Freeland, speaking Wednesday with Bloomberg’s Michael McKee in a television interview in New York, said it’s possible the three nations can come away with a “win-win-win” result on a revamped North American Free Trade Agreement, even as she acknowledged gaps remain on some issues. For more, click here...
2/1/2018


Trump says global trade will be fair and reciprocal
President Trump said Tuesday night that the days of unfair trade are over and the United States will improve global agreements and make way for new deals. Trump has promised to overhaul U.S. trade policy but so far through his first year has yet to form any new trading partnerships or remake established trade pacts such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). For more, click here...
1/31/2018


Trudeau doesn't think U.S. will pull out of NAFTA
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in an interview he does not think U.S. President Donald Trump will pull out of NAFTA, despite differences over how to update the trade pact, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. said on Wednesday. Trudeau’s comments were among the most positive made by any Canadian official since talks started last year to revamp a $1.2 trillion treaty that Trump calls a disaster. “It obviously would be bad if we canceled it, so I don’t think the president is going to be cancelling it,” Trudeau told the CBC in an interview recorded on Tuesday. For more, click here...
1/31/2018


Canada to U.S.: New SLA will end WTO case
The Canadian government has suggested it might drop its major international trade case against the U.S., if it gets a softwood lumber deal. Canada has filed a wide-ranging complaint to the World Trade Organization about the way the U.S. applies punitive tariffs, infuriating the Americans. U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer called it a "massive attack" on the American system of international trade. For more, click here...
1/30/2018


NAFTA talks progress, but slowly
Trade leaders with the United States, Canada and Mexico said on Monday they made progress in updating the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as the sixth round of talks concluded in Montreal. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the NAFTA discussions must move at a faster clip if the trading partners want to alleviate uncertainty and seal a deal. For more, click here...
1/30/2018


All eyes on U.S. after week of cautious optimism in NAFTA talks
All eyes are on the U.S. as the latest round of Nafta talks wrap up amid promising signs of flexibility among the trading partners on the thorniest issues. The sixth round of negotiations ends Monday after a week marked by cautious optimism, with negotiators concluding their first chapter since October and broad discussion about the biggest sticking points. President Donald Trump himself has toned down his rhetoric over the North American Free Trade Agreement, and he isn’t expected to use his State of the Union speech on Tuesday to give a notice of withdrawal as some had privately feared. For more, click here...
1/29/2018


Litmus test for NAFTA deal approaching
Quebec’s chief NAFTA negotiator says U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will have the final say as to whether Canada’s counter proposals have any traction. That means it will be several days before Canada learns whether it has done enough to save the talks. Canadian negotiators have countered so-called U.S. poison pills with proposals for higher continental content requirements for automobiles, and on NAFTA’s dispute resolution mechanisms and contentious five-year sunset clause. For more, click here...
1/26/2018


Canada joining TPP may affect NAFTA talks
The signing of a sprawling new trade pact involving two North American countries has revealed a rift in philosophy with the continent's superpower and raised the question of whether those differences might complicate the NAFTA negotiations. Canada and Mexico joined the new Trans-Pacific Partnership as the three North American countries gathered Tuesday in Montreal for a week-long round seen as potentially pivotal in gauging the prospects for a new NAFTA after a contentious few rounds. For more, click here...
1/24/2018


Canada says it will be creative, firm at NAFTA talks
Canada intends to be constructive and innovative as the North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiations resume in Montreal, the country’s international trade minister said Monday. The talks take place amid the U.S. administration’s grumbling about Canada’s recent sweeping complaint with the World Trade Organization about U.S. trade practices, as well as Canada’s insistence on a progressive trade agenda that includes Indigenous and labour provisions. For more, click here...
1/23/2018


Canada officially requests NAFTA panel to review duties
Canada on Friday filed a request for panel review within the framework of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) over the U.S. decision to impose duties on imports of Bombardier jet airliners, the Canadian Foreign Ministry said Friday. The move is against the U.S. plan to impose duty rates of nearly 300 percent on future imports of the C Series aircraft produced by the Canadian manufacturer Bombardier Aerospace. The foreign ministry statement issued Friday evening said Canada also filed a request for panel review over the U.S. decision to impose duties on imports of Canadian softwood lumber. The U.S. International Trade Commission said softwood lumber imports from Canada were subsidized and hurt the U.S. industry. For more, click here...
1/22/2018


Economists expect NAFTA to be renegotiated
The North American Free Trade Agreement will probably be renegotiated successfully with only marginal changes, said a large majority of economists in a Reuters poll, despite the Trump administration’s saber-rattling. Only four of 45 economists polled this week said they thought the deal would be terminated, with the rest expecting an updated trilateral agreement that would not differ radically from the current one. For more, click here...
1/19/2018


Emerson's role as B.C. softwood envoy ends
David Emerson's appointment as British Columbia's special envoy to the United States on softwood lumber is coming to an end. Premier John Horgan said Emerson's experience has been invaluable but the need for his expertise has been reduced as the trade issue appears headed for a court battle. For more, click here...
1/16/2018


Canadian officials take U.S. threat to leave NAFTA seriously
The Trudeau government appears to have adopted a good-cop, bad-cop strategy for saving NAFTA -- coming up with some "creative" new proposals in response to unpalatable U.S. demands while simultaneously signaling its willingness to aggressively attack what it considers unfair American trade practices. But while the government is hoping for the best from negotiations to renew the North American Free Trade Agreement, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland reiterated Thursday that it's also prepared for the worst: a U.S. withdrawal from the continental trade pact. For more, click here...
1/12/2018


Washington lashes out over Canada's WTO complaint
Canada is escalating its trade fight with Donald Trump, mounting what the U.S. calls a “broad and ill-advised attack” just as Nafta talks are set to resume. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government launched a wide-ranging World Trade Organization dispute with the U.S. over how it applies countervailing and anti-dumping duties. The paperwork was filed Dec. 20, days after a mini-round of North American Free Trade Agreement talks ended in Washington, and made public Wednesday. It drew a harshly worded response from Trump’s trade czar. “Canada’s claims are unfounded and could only lower U.S. confidence that Canada is committed to mutually beneficial trade,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement. For more, click here...
1/11/2018


Canada files WTO complaint
Canada has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization, accusing the US of breaking international trade rules. The complaint targets US practices tied to tariffs imposed for alleged subsidies and below-cost product sales. The action comes amid disputes between the two countries over issues such as dairy, aircraft sales and lumber. For more, click here...
1/10/2018


Canada raises alarm on Trump leaving NAFTA
Canadian government officials said there’s an increasing likelihood U.S. President Donald Trump will give six-months’ notice to withdraw from Nafta, dragging down the loonie, yields on government bonds and Mexico’s peso. The officials, speaking Wednesday on condition they not be identified, declined to say whether they think the likelihood of Trump following through on repeated threats to quit the pact now exceed 50%. A White House official, speaking on background, said there hasn’t been any change in the president’s position on the North American Free Trade Agreement. For more, click here...
1/10/2018


Canada proceeds with NAFTA challenge of duties
The U.S. Department of Commerce has ignored trade rulings on softwood lumber that favour Canadian producers, and a NAFTA panel should order duties that were introduced last year to be reversed and the money refunded, Canada says. Two months ago, Canada served notice that it would use one of the most controversial elements of the North American free-trade agreement – Chapter 19, which sets up trade panels to settle disputes – in its battle against U.S. lumber duties. This week, a law firm representing the Canadian government hired a courier to drop off a letter marked "via hand delivery" to Paul Morris, secretary of the U.S. section of the NAFTA Secretariat. For more, click here...
1/8/2018


Canada launches appeals of lumber duties
The Canadian government on Wednesday said it has launched a legal challenge to hefty duties imposed by the United States on its softwood lumber industry. Chrystia Freeland, Canada's minister of foreign affairs, said Ottawa is following through with an appeal of the U.S. International Trade Commission's (ITC) decision made in November to levy countervailing and anti-dumping duties on lumber imports. “The Government of Canada will continue to vigorously defend our industry and its workers against protectionist trade practices,” Freeland said in a statement. “U.S. duties on Canadian softwood lumber are unfair, unwarranted and troubling,” she said. For more, click here...
1/4/2018


Newsprint makers brace for possible U.S. duties
The ongoing softwood dispute with the United States may not be hurting Canada much yet, but the industry is bracing for a new trade battle with the U.S. that could take a bite out of a part of the sector that is already facing sharp declines. Derek Nighbor, chief executive of the Forest Products Association of Canada, says heading into the new year, the industry is waiting for the U.S. Department of Commerce to decide if it believes Canada is dumping newsprint into the U.S. at below market value. "This is not something that people are talking about, but in our sector we are concerned this could be worse than softwood," Nighbor said. For more, click here...
1/3/2018


Lumber duties set to go into effect December 28
The final ruling on injury from the U.S. International Trade Commission is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register December 28, which means that final countervailing and anti-dumping duties on Canadian lumber shipments to the U.S. will be in effect as of that date. The combined CVD/AD duty paid by most Canadians will be 20.23%. Those companies individually investigated will be assessed the following CVD rates: Canfor 13.24%; J.D. Irving 3.34%; Resolute 14.70%; Tolko 14.85%; and West Fraser 17.99%. The weighted average of those investigated results in an “all other” CVD rate of 14.19%. Individual AD rates are: Canfor 7.28%; Resolute 3.20%; Tolko 7.22%; and West Fraser 5.57%. The “all other” AD rate is 6.04%.
12/27/2017


EACOM invests in sawmills despite duties
Amid the latest softwood lumber dispute between Canada and the United States, EACOM Timber Corporation has invested in its Timmins sawmill and diversified its offerings. At the United States border, Canadian softwood lumber producers are being charged tariffs. For EACOM, the rate is a 20.23% duty on its softwood lumber shipments, which includes a countervailing duty and an anti-dumping duty. For more, click here...
12/20/2017


Higher prices offset impact of duties for Canadians
Canada’s lumber industry has been able to survive the impacts of preliminary duties, largely thanks to soaring lumber prices. While industry production will remain virtually flat this year, industry revenues are on pace to grow by 8 per cent, according to The Conference Board of Canada’s Canadian Industrial Outlook: Wood Products Manufacturing – Autumn 2017. “Lumber prices are at their highest levels in over a decade due to a perfect storm of factors, including supply constraints in B.C. from the wildfires this summer, and increased demand from a recovering U.S. housing market and rebuilding efforts in hurricane-affected regions,” said Michael Burt, Director, Industrial Trends, The Conference Board of Canada. “The surging lumber prices are providing a welcome relief from the costs of the lumber duties imposed by the U.S., but this is not likely to last.” For more, click here...
12/20/2017


Survey: Canadian firms could move to U.S. amid NAFTA worries
More than a quarter of Canadian firms could move part of their operations to the United States amid uncertainty over the future of the NAFTA trade pact, the nation's export credit agency said on Friday. The semi-annual forecast by Export Development Canada underlines the challenges posed by the more isolationist approach to trade of U.S. President Donald Trump's administration. For more, click here...
12/15/2017


ITC votes to affirm lumber duties vs. Canada
In a 4-0 vote today, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that the U.S. lumber industry was injured by Canadian lumber imports. That ruling will finalize the countervailing and anti-dumping duties currently being assessed on Canadian lumber shipments to the U.S. In November, the U.S. Department of Commerce levied total CVD/AD duties of 20.83% on Canadian lumber imports. The ITC vote was conducted today, but the transmission of its decision to Commerce, which will include the rationale for its decision, will not happen until later this month. The ITC has until December 22 to submit its decision to Commerce. About 3-5 business days after the ITC submits its decision to Commerce, it will be published in the Federal Register. Commerce will then publish the final CVD/AD order, normally 3-5 business days after the ITC publication. Final duties will be assessed when the CVD/AD order is published in the Federal Register, with the duties retroactive to when the ITC decision is published. Also, Commerce has issued “ministerial error” corrections to the AD rate for Canfor and the CVD rate for West Fraser to correct arithmetic errors in the calculations. Canfor’s AD rate was lowered to 7.28% from 8.89%, and West Fraser’s CVD rate was lowered to 17.99% from 18.19%. The all-others rates were adjusted accordingly, and the CVD all-others rate is now 14.19% and the AD rate is now 6.04%. The total all-others rate drops to 20.23% from 20.83%. Canada has already announced that it plans to appeal the CVD/AD duties before NAFTA and World Trade Organization panels.
12/7/2017


Canadian exports to U.S. down, but prices mitigating factor
Canada's softwood lumber exports to the U.S. have fallen since the Americans imposed new duties earlier this year, but thanks to near-record wood prices the industry isn't suffering much from the political trade fight. As the clock inches towards the end of 2017, it seems unlikely a new softwood agreement will be inked between Canada and the U.S. this year, but even the industry association representing most softwood producers in Canada isn't that concerned about it. For more, click here...
12/5/2017


New Brunswick hires experts to review forestry market
The New Brunswick government will hire an expert firm to review the province's forestry market as part of its ongoing fight against softwood anti-dumping duties announced by the U.S. Commerce Department earlier this month. The province maintains the U.S. duties are "unfair trade actions" against the New Brunswick softwood lumber industry and Thursday announced the steps it's taking to protect the "very valued" industry that employs thousands. For more, click here...
12/1/2017


Canada taking lumber dispute to WTO
The federal government is launching litigation via the World Trade Organization over anti-dumping and countervailing duties the U.S. Department of Commerce has set on softwood lumber imports from Canada. "The U.S. Department of Commerce's decision to impose punitive anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Canadian softwood lumber producers is unfair, unwarranted and deeply troubling," according to a statement issued Tuesday by Global Affairs Canada. For more, click here...
11/28/2017


No meaningful progress in NAFTA talks
No meaningful progress is being made in NAFTA trade talks between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, increasing the odds that President Trump could withdraw from a critical 23-year-old agreement. After Round 5 of NAFTA talks ended Tuesday — only two more are scheduled — no progress has been made on divisive issues. "While we have made progress on some of our efforts to modernize NAFTA, I remain concerned about the lack of headway," U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement. For more, click here...
11/22/2017


J.D. Irving cites duties for delay in mill overhaul
J.D. Irving Ltd. put a $25 million overhaul of a Doaktown, New Brunswick, sawmill on hold after this month's U.S. Commerce Department's decision on softwood lumber duties, the company says. "We have undertaken engineering for the mill expansion," JDI vice-president Mary Keith said. "Next steps are dependent on market conditions, including the resolution of the softwood lumber duty issue currently facing New Brunswick." For more, click here...
11/17/2017


NAFTA talks resume, minus ministers
NAFTA talks are picking up on Wednesday mostly where they left off a month ago, with tension and animosity in the air. On Wednesday, Cabinet-level officials responsible for NAFTA from all three nations said they’ll skip attending the talks for the first time and leave discussions to their negotiating teams. It’s the latest sign that reaching a deal isn’t imminent. For more, click here...
11/16/2017


Canada challenges lumber duties with appeal to NAFTA panel
Canada is turning to the North American Free Trade Agreement in its bid to stop U.S. duties on Canadian softwood lumber. A letter from a Canadian lawyer was hand-delivered Tuesday to the American NAFTA secretariat in Washington, requesting a panel review "in regard to the final determination of the U.S. Department of Commerce in the countervailing duty investigation of softwood lumber from Canada." For more, click here...
11/15/2017


B.C. forests minister leads trade mission to China
B.C. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson left today, November 10, on what is being billed as the “largest-ever” trade mission to China, with the hope of expanding B.C.’s growing share of the Chinese lumber market. Donaldson is leading a mission of 30 forest company executives to both China and Japan. From November 12 to 17 they will meet Chinese government and business leaders in Shanghai, Nanjing and Tokyo. Although he did not mention the dispute Canada is having with the U.S. over both softwood lumber duties and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), it’s clear the mission is intended to reduce B.C.’s reliance on the U.S., which is still the largest market for Canadian wood products. For more, click here...
11/13/2017


B.C. vows to fight softwood duties
Premier John Horgan said last week in a press conference that he will take on American “lumber barons” in the softwood lumber dispute. The United States Department of Commerce has announced its final determination of duties of 20.83% to be applied to the majority of Canadian softwood lumber shipments entering the U.S. For more, click here...
11/10/2017


New Brunswick sawmills take issue with duty ruling
New Brunswick lumber producers took issue with the U.S. Department of Commerce punitive tariffs issued last week, stating the antidumping duties set for softwood lumber "excluded all of the Atlantic Provinces except New Brunswick in its final determination of duties on softwood lumber." Under the new tariffs, New Brunswick sawmills (excluding J.D. Irving, Limited) will pay 14.25% countervailing duties - CVD - plus 6.58% in anti-dumping duties for a total of 20.83% duty. For more, click here...
11/7/2017


B.C. Premier: Lumber dispute in "Groundhog Day loop"
The softwood lumber dispute has hit a “bit of a Groundhog Day loop,” Premier John Horgan said Thursday, as the U.S. Department of Commerce issued its final determination for punitive duties against Canadian lumber imports. Horgan said Canada and the U.S. had a narrow window to reach a trade agreement, but negotiations couldn’t get past protectionist interests in the U.S. industry. That kept the American trade litigation on track for Thursday’s decision on tariffs, which Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland promptly promised to appeal in what is now the fifth round of the long-running trade dispute. For more, click here...
11/3/2017


Commerce levies final CVD/AD duties of 20.83%
Commerce levies final CVD/AD duties of 20.83% The U.S. Department of Commerce announced today affirmative final determinations in the countervailing and anti-dumping duty cases. Most Canadian producers will pay total duties of 20.83% on lumber shipments to the U.S. This is down from the preliminary combined rates of 26.75%. Final duties will not be collected unless/until the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) gives a positive final injury ruling. That decision is scheduled for December 18. The individual companies investigated will be assessed their own duty rates. Combined CVD/AD rates are: Canfor 22.13%; Resolute 17.90%; Tolko 22.07%; and West Fraser 23.76%. J.D. Irving was individually investigated in the CVD case and will be assessed a rate of 3.34%, which will combine with the "all-other" AD rate of 6.58% for a combined total of 9.92%. The final "all-other" CVD rate is 14.25%, and the final AD "all-other" rate is 6.58%. Commerce also announced that "critical circumstances" exist in the AD case with regards to Resolute, Tolko, West Fraser, and "all-others," but did not exist for Canfor. Consequently, those duties will be collected retroactive to late March for those companies. Commerce did not specifically address a "critical circumstances" finding in the CVD case, which is assumed those duties won’t be collected retroactively. If the ITC makes affirmative final determinations that imports of softwood lumber from Canada materially injure, or threaten material injury, to the U.S. industry, Commerce will issue CVD and AD orders. Those orders would likely be issued around December 26, or about a week after the ITC rules on December 18.
11/2/2017


Mexican wages key to breaking NAFTA impasse?
Unifor president Jerry Dias says he and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross have agreed that combating low Mexican wages is the key to breaking the impasse at NAFTA renegotiations. Both agreed that Canada and the United States have been hurt by the siphoning off of manufacturing jobs to Mexico and must work together to pressure the country to drive up wages, Dias said Tuesday in Washington, D.C. Unifor said other key issues addressed at the meeting between Dias and Ross included the imposition of duties on Canadian softwood lumber exports to the U.S. Dias said they were unable to find common ground on softwood lumber and doesn't anticipate a resolution to the dispute any time soon. For more, click here...
10/31/2017


Harper blasts Trudeau government for handling of NAFTA
Stephen Harper has come out against his successor's handling of NAFTA negotiations with the United States, with the former prime minister declaring the negotiations in real peril in a memo titled, "Napping on NAFTA." The memo was obtained by The Canadian Press and it criticizes the Trudeau government in several areas: For too quickly rejecting U.S. proposals, for insisting on negotiating alongside Mexico, and for promoting progressive priorities like labour, gender, aboriginal and environmental issues. For more, click here...
10/30/2017


West Fraser CEO says end to softwood war not near
Canadian lumber producers may still have a long wait ahead of them if they’re hoping for a peaceful resolution to the wearisome softwood lumber dispute that has been plaguing relations between Canadians and their neighbours to the south. This, according to West Fraser Timber chief executive officer Ted Seraphim. Seraphim spoke Tuesday morning in a conference call saying the U.S. Lumber Coalition’s actions to date are damaging to U.S. homebuilders and home buyers in the long run. For more, click here...
10/26/2017


NAFTA talks bog down, extended into 2018
No one spoke about walking away from the North American Free Trade Agreement, but such sharp differences have surfaced among negotiators that the U.S., Canada, and Mexico agreed to a kind of timeout and are extending talks well into next year. After wrapping up their latest and most contentious round of negotiations Tuesday, top trade officials from the three nations were openly critical of each other’s positions, acknowledging in a joint statement that “new proposals had created significant conceptual gaps” between them. For more, click here...
10/18/2017


NAFTA talks reeling after aggressive U.S. proposals
After laying out the Trump administration’s most aggressive NAFTA demands to date, chief U.S. negotiator John Melle was asked on Sunday how things are progressing. “Fabulous,” he said, smiling and shrugging before entering a negotiating room once more. The fourth round of negotiations is nearing an end amid rising tensions after the U.S. presented proposals that could be politically unfeasible for Canada and Mexico. U.S. industry and Congress, meanwhile, are mounting a more vocal defense for preserving regional trade ties as they sense the discussions could be in trouble. For more, click here...
10/16/2017


Trump threatens to terminate NAFTA
President Trump says that if Mexico, Canada and the United States can't renegotiate a trade deal, "it'll be terminated and that will be fine." Speaking to the press in the Oval Office alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump indicated that NAFTA, the three-nation trade pact, may not exist much longer. "I think Justin understands this, if we can't make a deal, it'll be terminated and that will be fine," Trump said Wednesday. "They're going to do well, we're going to do well." For more, click here...
10/12/2017


U.S. businesses fear NAFTA doomed; Mexico warns of consequences
The most powerful U.S. business lobby accused the Trump administration of making “poison pill proposals” to sabotage NAFTA on Tuesday, as Mexico’s foreign minister said the demise of the regional trade pact would hurt bilateral cooperation. The process of renegotiating the 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement has turned increasingly acrimonious. Mexico accuses U.S. President Donald Trump of spoiling for a “protectionist war” with proposals aimed at balancing trade. Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said on Tuesday that an end to NAFTA would mark a breaking point in U.S.-Mexican relations and affect bilateral cooperation in other areas. For more, click here...
10/11/2017


U.S. takes tough stand on trade deficit in NAFTA talks
The Trump administration took a hard line on shrinking the U.S. trade deficit with Canada and Mexico as the third round of negotiations on rewriting the North American free-trade agreement concluded in Ottawa on Wednesday with little substantive progress. Washington's unshakeable focus on reducing its trade deficit in the NAFTA talks was immediately challenged by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and her Mexican counterpart, and suggests the outcome of the negotiations is far from clear. For more, click here...
9/29/2017


U.S. swears in new ambassador to Canada
The United States has just sworn in its next ambassador to Canada at a moment of trade tensions between the countries, with mushrooming disputes running parallel with the renegotiation of NAFTA. Kelly Knight Craft was sworn in on the same day that the U.S. Commerce Department clobbered Canada's aerospace giant Bombardier with a preliminary duty of 219%, atop recent duties on softwood lumber. For more, click here...
9/27/2017


Canada unlikely to walk away from NAFTA talks
Despite Canada’s threats to walk away from NAFTA talks if necessary, its limited success in diversifying exports leaves the nation too reliant on U.S. markets to play hardball, government insiders and trade experts say. Negotiators from Canada, Mexico and the United States will gather in Ottawa on Saturday for the third round of talks on modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement with many tough items yet to be broached. U.S. President Donald Trump says he will ditch the pact unless major changes are made. Canadian officials last month suggested the country could walk away if the United States pushed to remove a key dispute-settlement mechanism. For more, click here...
9/22/2017


Canada open to adding softwood lumber deal to NAFTA
Canada is prepared to pursue a permanent settlement in softwood lumber within the North American Free Trade Agreement if the U.S. lumber industry keeps blocking a deal, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S. suggested Thursday. David MacNaughton expressed frustration at the industry using what is effectively its veto power to block any deal between the national governments, and he raised the possibility of working around it to achieve a long-term solution. For more, click here...
9/15/2017


Senators testify in Canadian lumber case
Montana’s two U.S. senators testified Wednesday before a federal commission tasked with investigating Canadian lumber export practices. Sens. Steve Daines (R) and Jon Tester (D) were joined by colleagues from other western states and representatives of American timber producers at a hearing held by the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC), currently investigating whether Canadian softwood lumber imports have adversely affected U.S. producers. For more, click here...
9/14/2017


Top U.S. lawmakers express confidence in NAFTA talks
Top U.S. lawmakers tasked with an oversight role in the NAFTA negotiations are expressing confidence in the state of the discussions, downplaying talk of a halting start to the process. The two highest-ranking members of the U.S. Senate finance committee legally designated with monitoring the negotiations have brushed aside reports of early bumps. The Republican chair of the committee said Tuesday he still thinks a new NAFTA is achievable this year. For more, click here...
9/13/2017


Maine governor seeks duty exemptions for Maritimes, Quebec
Gov. Paul LePage has asked President Donald Trump's administration to exempt eastern Canadian provinces from softwood lumber tariffs that he says will lead to layoffs and shut-down operations in Maine. The Republican president has argued Canada unfairly subsidizes its softwood lumber industry, which includes spruce, pine and fir used for everything from home construction to newspapers. The Trump administration this year began collecting preliminary tariffs on imported softwood lumber from Canada. For more, click here...
9/1/2017


West Fraser CEO more concerned with wildfires than duties
Sabre-rattling and tariffs slapped on Canadian lumber by the Trump administration are not keeping the chief executive of North America’s largest lumber company awake at night. “We’ve had duties put on us and we just reported record earnings in the second quarter,” Ted Seraphim, CEO of West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd., said from the company’s head office in Vancouver last week. “So we are under no pressure to settle. In fact, U.S. duties are a minor distraction compared with forest fires," Seraphim said. For more, click here...
8/30/2017


Canadian CEO says progress being made toward SLA
J.D. Irving CEO Jim Irving says eastern Canada and New England are coming together to work towards a resolution of the softwood lumber dispute between Canada and the U.S. The Americans increased tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber to 27% in June. Irving is one of the business delegates at this week's meeting of New England governors and Eastern Canadian premiers in Charlottetown, and a member of a panel discussion Monday about the issue. He said the Maine Governor Paul LePage has pledged to work with his counterparts from around the region to ask U.S. President Donald Trump for tariff exemptions covering all the Atlantic provinces plus Quebec. For more, click here...
8/29/2017


Maine governor tells Canadians Trump believes in free trade
A key ally of Donald Trump says Canadians should understand the U.S. president believes in free trade, and they shouldn't read too much into what they hear. Maine Governor Paul LePage, in Charlottetown for a meeting of Eastern Canadian premiers and New England governors, said he's spoken to Trump on the subject and he is confident any issues with NAFTA "can be fixed." For more, click here...
8/29/2017


Commerce postpones final CVD/AD decision to November
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced late today that the final determination in the countervailing and anti-dumping duty cases against Canadian lumber imports has been postponed until no later than November 14. The final determinations had been scheduled for September 6. “I remain hopeful that we can reach a negotiated solution that satisfies the concerns of all parties,” said Secretary Ross. “This extension could provide the time needed to address the complex issues at hand and to reach an equitable and durable suspension agreement.” The preliminary CVD is no longer being assessed as of August 25. The postponement of the final determination means that the gap period when the CVD is not collected will now extend for approximately four months, or until late December or early January. The preliminary AD duty is still in place regarding Canadian lumber shipments to the U.S.
8/28/2017


CVD gap period officially begins
The gap period when lumber shipments from Canada to the U.S. will not be assessed a countervailing duty is officially under way, and is expected to last until late October. The preliminary anti-dumping duty is still being collected. A preliminary CVD can only be collected for 120 days, and that period ended August 25. The U.S. Department of Commerce is currently scheduled to make its final determination in the CVD/AD investigations on September 6, and publicly release their findings on September 7. The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) will rule if Canadian lumber imports injured the U.S. industry 45 days later, or late October. If the ITC rules that the U.S. industry was injured, CVD/AD orders would be issued about a week later when it publishes in the Federal Register. At that point, the final CVD would be collected and the gap period would end. Canada has requested that the final determinations be extended by 60 days, which would push the CVD gap period into late December. As of now, Commerce officials report that they are on track to publicly issue the final CVD/AD determinations on September 7.
8/27/2017


Canada threatens to sue U.S. if negotiations fail
Canada, the world’s largest softwood-lumber exporter, affirmed its willingness to sue the U.S. if trade talks on the homebuilding material fail. The U.S. has “mischaracterized” what Canada has proposed in terms of defined market share, Canada’s Ambassador to the U.S., David MacNaughton, said Thursday at a press conference in Washington. The only qualification Canada wants for defined market share is that the country can supply excess lumber to the U.S. in the event that American suppliers can’t meet domestic demand fully, he said. For more, click here...
8/25/2017


Canada, Mexico shrug off Trump threat to blow up NAFTA
Donald Trump’s sudden threat to blow up NAFTA less than a week into its renegotiation isn’t drawing much of a response from the other North American countries, which are downplaying his remarks. Canada and Mexico say it’s a predictable event in the course of a trade negotiation. “As we said last week, trade negotiations often have moments of heated rhetoric,” said Adam Austen, a spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland. This comes after the president told a partisan crowd at a rally that he doubts a deal is possible. Trump said he’ll try negotiating but will probably wind up killing NAFTA. For more, click here...
8/23/2017


U.S. seeking big changes in NAFTA negotiations
The United States won't settle for cosmetic changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement, the top U.S. trade negotiator said, as negotiations to rework terms of the pact began. President Donald Trump has called the 23-year-old trade pact the "worst" in history and vowed to fix it — or withdraw from it. On the first of five days of talks, U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer said Wednesday that Trump "is not interested in a mere tweaking of a few provisions and an updating of a few chapters. We believe NAFTA has fundamentally failed many, many Americans and needs major improvement." For more, click here...
8/17/2017


Chapter 19 integral to NAFTA talks
A lot of Canadian softwood lumber exporters will tell you Chapter 19 is an instrumental part of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Softwood lumber is the longest and bitterest of Canada-U.S. trade disputes. Small wonder then that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has cautioned that removing Chapter 19 from the trade pact would be a deal breaker in the upcoming renewal talks between Canada, the United States and Mexico. Chapter 19 is a mechanism NAFTA members can use to review the fairness of anti-dumping and countervailing duties. The U.S. has a long history of slapping such duties on Canadian softwood lumber shipments, and Canada has taken advantage of Chapter 19 to reverse those actions. For more, click here...
8/16/2017


Lumber talks expected to continue amid NAFTA negotiations
The United States and Canada have failed to settle a festering trade dispute on softwood lumber ahead of talks to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), but will keep the lumber negotiations on a separate, parallel track, officials from both countries said. U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had been pushing for a lumber deal before Wednesday's start to NAFTA talks to avoid complications from the decades-old dispute. But both U.S. lumber producers and Canadian officials say they are not close to completing a quota deal that would limit Canadian lumber mills to a specific percentage of the U.S. market. For more, click here...
8/16/2017


Canadian official sees outline for new SLA
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says the outlines of a deal with the United States to resolve the softwood lumber dispute are in place. But she can't predict whether the persistent trade irritant will be settled before negotiations begin on Aug. 16 to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement. "I do think an agreement which benefits both Canada and United States ... is absolutely possible and achievable and I can see the outlines of that agreement already," Freeland said Monday in a teleconference call from Manila, Philippines, where she was attending meetings with her counterparts in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. "Having said that, I can't today say whether or not and when such an agreement might be achievable." For more, click here...
8/8/2017


Report: Overseas imports impeding new SLA
Canada and the United States must chop down one big, remaining impediment to a deal on softwood lumber, and this obstacle involves wood from neither country but from other places: Germany, Sweden, Chile, Brazil and Russia, according to The Canadian Press. This irritant over distant imports is complicating the goal of a quick softwood agreement, something both North American governments say they want to achieve in order to start NAFTA talks in two weeks without a major trade irritant looming overhead. The sticking point involves third-country imports. More specifically, it’s about who gets to fill the U.S. demand for lumber in the event of a hot construction market like the present one, when American supply falls short. For more, click here...
8/2/2017


B.C. premier says new SLA could come in August
British Columbia Premier John Horgan says Canada and the United States are close to reaching a softwood lumber trade deal that could come as early as next month. Horgan made the comments Thursday during a conference call from Washington, D.C., following two days of meetings with trade officials from President Donald Trump's administration and Canada's ambassador to the U.S. Horgan said talks between Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross are ongoing and it appears they are close to reaching a market-share agreement. For more, click here...
7/28/2017


Senators urge quotas on Canadian lumber
Seven members of the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday called on the Trump administration to set quotas on Canadian softwood lumber and closely consult with Congress during negotiations of a final agreement. Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) want U.S. trade officials to negotiate a "clean quota" agreement to address the softwood lumber spat with Canada. "Any long-term agreement must stop the harmful effects of subsidized and unfairly traded Canadian lumber on fair competition with the U.S. producers," the lawmakers wrote in the letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. For more, click here...
7/26/2017


U.S. Trade Rep expected to handle NAFTA talks
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross appears to have lost a power struggle to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer for overall management of free-trade negotiations with Canada and Mexico. The battle over control of U.S. trade policy involving two of President Donald Trump’s top cabinet secretaries comes as Canada prepares for tough negotiations to rewrite the North American free-trade agreement. In a sign that difficult talks lie ahead, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau laid down his first marker on Tuesday, saying Canada considers it “absolutely essential” that NAFTA retain a dispute-resolution mechanism, something the Trump administration wants to scrap. To read more, a subscription is required to The Globe and Mail, click here...
7/26/2017


B.C. premier hints at possible quota deal with U.S.
Canada initially balked at the idea of export quotas as part of a new softwood lumber agreement with the United States, but public discussion increasingly points to quotas being part of a potential deal being discussed behind the scenes. And while quotas would have been a disadvantage to British Columbia’s forest industry previously, some analysts believe they might be more tenable now, considering limits to the province’s timber supplies. That deal to resolve the dispute, which many thought could grind on for years, might be struck before Canada, the U.S. and Mexico reopen the North American Free Trade Agreement in August. For more, click here...
7/26/2017


Woodrow Wilson Center fellow suggests solution to lumber dispute
(Note: The opinions expressed in the following commentary are NOT those of Random Lengths. We are an independent publishing company that provides unbiased information on the U.S.-Canada lumber dispute.) With the NAFTA talks set to begin in August, the United States and Canada are seeking to clear away obstacles to a successful re-negotiation. The most vexing challenge outstanding is the U.S.-Canada softwood lumber dispute. The two countries have an ancient history in the timber realm. The “challenge” of Canadian lumber imports was first mentioned in the Continental Congress. The Aroostook War, which ended in 1842 and established the border between Maine and New Brunswick, turned on access to softwood lumber. In an opinion piece in The Hill, Eric Miller provided his take on how Canada and the U.S. can make a long-term lumber deal last. To read his commentary, click here...
7/25/2017


B.C. premier to discuss lumber case with Commerce secretary
B.C. Premier John Horgan will meet with the U.S. Secretary of Commerce when he heads to Washington this week to make a case for a deal to resolve the softwood-lumber dispute, which threatens the province’s single-largest export to the United States. The Commerce Department confirmed that Mr. Horgan will meet with Wilbur Ross, who was appointed to U.S. President Donald Trump’s cabinet earlier this year. Mr. Horgan’s office did not say who else the Premier will meet while he’s in Washington. For more, click here...
7/25/2017


Coalition applauds U.S. objectives in NAFTA talks
The U.S. Lumber Coalition today commented on the Trump Administration's objectives for the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), including the recommendation to preserve the ability of the United States to rigorously enforce its trade laws by eliminating NAFTA's Chapter 19 dispute settlement mechanism. "We applaud U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer for pushing the removal of the Chapter 19 dispute panel system from NAFTA. The Chapter 19 system is unconstitutional, unworkable in practice, and for decades has seriously undermined the enforcement of U.S. law against unfair trade practices by Canada and Mexico, to the detriment of U.S. industries and workers," said U.S. Lumber Coalition spokesperson, Zoltan van Heyningen. For more, click here...
7/19/2017


U.S. outlines objectives in NAFTA talks
The United States on Monday launched the first salvo in the renegotiation of the 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), saying its top priority for the talks was shrinking the U.S. trade deficit with Canada and Mexico. In a much-anticipated document sent to lawmakers, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said he would seek to reduce the trade imbalance by improving access for U.S. goods exported to Canada and Mexico under the three-nation pact. Among the priorities, Lighthizer said the administration would seek to eliminate a trade dispute mechanism that has largely prohibited the United States from pursuing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases against Canadian and Mexican firms. For more, click here...
7/19/2017


Analyst: Quota-based SLA possible next month
The framework for a 10-year softwood lumber agreement between Canada and the U.S. could be reached in the coming weeks, says an industry analyst, citing discussions with unnamed trade contacts. In a report released Thursday, Hamir Patel of CIBC World Markets said a deal setting quotas on Canadian softwood exports could be acceptable to the U.S. lumber industry if Canada drops several demands. That would include withdrawing a request that New Brunswick be excluded from any softwood agreement restrictions, Patel said. "We now believe there is a greater than 50 percent probability that the two sides could announce an agreed-upon framework by the end of August," he wrote. For more, click here...
7/14/2017


New Brunswick premier optimistic after meeting with U.S.
New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant says he remains optimistic his province can be excluded from hefty duties on softwood lumber exports to the United States. Gallant met with United States Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross Jr. in Washington on Wednesday to discuss softwood lumber and free trade. "I argued why New Brunswick should be part of the exclusion we have enjoyed since 1982," Gallant said. For more, click here...
7/13/2017


Quebec rep urges new SLA before NAFTA talks
Quebec's representative in the softwood lumber dispute between Canada and the United States says that dossier needs to be settled before talks begin on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement. Raymond Chretien, Canada's former ambassador to the United States, says it would be difficult to have two sets of delicate negotiations going on simultaneously. Chretien called softwood lumber an "explosive" issue that is "too big, too complex and too emotional" to overlap with NAFTA talks. "We have to settle softwood before the NAFTA discussions begin," he said in an interview with The Canadian Press. "Is that possible? I don't know. There's not a lot of time left. We're almost in mid-July." For more, click here...
7/12/2017


Preliminary AD in effect as of June 30
The preliminary determination in the anti-dumping duty case against Canadian lumber imports published in the Federal Register June 30. That duty, which averaged 6.87%, is now officially in effect. The four Canadian companies investigated -- Canfor, West Fraser, Tolko, and Resolute -- will begin paying anti-dumping duties as of June 30. For all other Canadian companies, the AD duty will be collected retroactively 90 days from that date. Shippers in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island are excluded from the duty investigations.
6/30/2017


Coalition applauds Commerce action
The U.S. Lumber Coalition released the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Commerce announcement of anti-dumping duties related to Canadian companies dumping Canadian softwood lumber products in the United States. The Department's decision is a preliminary finding and now the case will be subject to additional investigation before a final decision on the dumping margins is made by the Department in September. "We applaud the Department of Commerce's decision to take further action against Canada's unfair trading practices and restore fair trade for U.S. lumber producers," said U.S. Lumber Coalition spokesperson, Zoltan van Heyningen. For more, click here...
6/27/2017


New Brunswick hoping for 'fair deal'
New Brunswick softwood lumber experts say the provincial industry is still hoping to reach a “fair deal,” despite Nova Scotia going their own way on countervailing tariff exemption negotiations. Forest NB Executive Director Mike Legere said he’s “optimistic” New Brunswick is getting the pieces into place to commence negotiations. He said it’s “essential” to get back to negotiations as soon as possible. For more, click here...
6/27/2017


Canadian officials respond to AD duties
The Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources, and the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement in response to the announcement by the U.S. Department of Commerce of the imposition of preliminary anti-dumping duties on imports of certain Canadian softwood lumber products into the United States and the announcement of consultations on excluding three provinces from duties: "The Government of Canada stands firmly behind the Canadian forest industry. This innovative, environmentally responsible and globally competitive industry sustains hundreds of thousands of good middle-class jobs across our country, including in rural and Indigenous communities. We will vigorously defend Canada's softwood lumber industry, including through litigation, and we expect to prevail as we have in the past." For more, click here...
6/27/2017


Atlantic provinces excluded from CVD, AD in preliminary evaluation
Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that The U.S. Department of Commerce has concluded the preliminary evaluation regarding the exclusion of softwood lumber products produced in the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, also referred to as the Atlantic Provinces. This evaluation was conducted following the request of both U.S. industry and Canadian interested provinces, and it was determined that this exclusion from Atlantic provinces should be taken into account in the softwood lumber Antidumping (AD) and Countervailing Duty (CVD) investigations. “I am pleased to announce that my staff has determined the exclusion of these products is appropriate,” said Secretary Ross. “The U.S. petitioners and other parties support this determination; it of course will be subject to further comment on the record. A final decision on the matter is expected by late summer. I remain hopeful that a negotiated settlement is both possible and in the best interests of both countries, our forestry workers, producers, and affected communities," said Secretary Ross. Commerce's preliminary determination in the anti-dumping duty case is expected later today. For more, click here...
6/26/2017


Preliminary AD rate set at 6.87%
Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced the affirmative preliminary determination in the antidumping duty (AD) investigation of softwood lumber from Canada. The Commerce Department determined that exporters from Canada have sold softwood lumber to the United States at 7.72% to 4.59% less than fair value based on factual evidence provided by the interested parties. Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to collect cash deposits from importers of softwood lumber from Canada based on these preliminary rates. These preliminary AD rates are in addition to the preliminary countervailing duty (CVD) rates that the Commerce Department assessed on softwood lumber on April 24, 2017. When combined the applicable duty rates range from 30.88% to 17.41%. For more, click here...
6/26/2017


U.S. Trade Rep promises tougher enforcement
President Trump’s top trade negotiator outlined a tougher line on enforcing U.S. deals and told a Capitol Hill hearing Wednesday that the administration has no hard deadline for completing the renegotiation of the NAFTA agreement with Canada and Mexico. The Senate Finance Committee hearing attracted a standing-room-only crowd as U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer gave his first public testimony on Trump’s promised radical shift in U.S. trade policy, a central plank of his winning presidential campaign last year. For more, click here...
6/22/2017


Canadians optimistic about exports despite coming NAFTA clash
Canadian companies are feeling optimistic when it comes to trade, according to a new report from Export Development Canada, despite some concerns about the rise of global protectionism and ramped up anti-trade rhetoric south of the border. The Trade Confidence Index, an EDC survey released Thursday that measures Canadian exporters’ level of confidence and expectations of trade opportunities over the next six months, jumped by 1.6 points from 72.3 last autumn to 73.9. For more, click here...
6/22/2017


Canadian envoy: New SLA 'a long way away'
Canada’s envoy to Washington says President Donald Trump’s administration is interested in a quick deal to end a softwood lumber dispute although Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government sees no imminent agreement. Ambassador David MacNaughton said last week U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told him it would be good to get a softwood deal before renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, due to begin as early as August. However, MacNaughton said a deal is “a long way away” with a second round of duties on Canadian lumber expected this month. Canada Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland also said a new pact on softwood -- one of the most persistent trade spats between the U.S. and its second-largest trading partner -- isn’t imminent. For more, click here...
6/20/2017


Canadian forestry workers rally seeking new SLA
An estimated 500 forestry workers and supporters from across the Maritimes gathered in Saint John on Monday to urge the federal government to demand a softwood lumber deal with the United States "before any more jobs are lost" due to countervailing duties and pending "anti-dumping" tariffs. Their union, Unifor, held a rally at Irving Pulp and Paper Ltd. on the city's west side at 3 p.m. — one of five simultaneous events held across the country. "The federal government's recent aid package for the industry was important, but the most important outcome is a negotiated softwood lumber agreement with the U.S. that benefits Canadian communities," Jerry Dias, Unifor's national president, said in a statement. For more, click here...
6/20/2017


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