Canada has filed notices of intent to commence judicial review of US duties on Canadian softwood lumber following the US’s fourth administrative review on softwood lumber from Canada.

This is the latest development in a long-running trade dispute between the two nations that has been going on for decades.

In a statement, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development, said that Canada is taking these steps to “defend the interests of our softwood lumber industry and the workers and communities that rely on it.”

“Canada is a world leader in softwood lumber and has an important industry that creates good, well-paying jobs for thousands of Canadians and supports communities across our country,” Ng said. “For years, the United States has imposed unfair, unjust and illegal duties on Canadian softwood lumber, hurting Canadian industry and increasing housing costs in both countries.

Ng said that Canada remains ready and willing to discuss a negotiated outcome to the dispute that provides the stability and predictability the sector needs to ensure its continued growth and success.

The US lumber industry has long argued that Canadian lumber producers are subsidized by the Canadian government, and that this gives them an unfair advantage in the US market. The Canadian government denies these claims.

Current US softwood lumber duties have subjected most Canadian softwood lumber exports to the new combined duty rate of 7.99%.

The US Department of Commerce conducts annual administrative reviews to recalculate the countervailing and antidumping duty rates for shipments during the period of review and to establish a new cash deposit rate for future shipments. The fourth administrative reviews covered the period of January 1, 2021, through December 31, 2021. The preliminary results of the fourth administrative reviews were announced on January 24, 2023, and the final results on July 27, 2023. The final results showed that the countervailing and antidumping duty rates for most Canadian softwood lumber producers had decreased slightly from the previous year. However, the rates for some producers had increased.

The US lumber industry has argued that the duties are necessary to protect US jobs and to ensure that Canadian lumber producers compete fairly in the US market.

The Canadian government has argued that the US duties on softwood lumber are harming both the Canadian and US economies. The duties have raised the cost of lumber for US consumers, and have led to job losses in the Canadian lumber industry.

Canada has also been working to diversify its export markets for softwood lumber in recent years by increasing its exports of softwood lumber to China and other Asian markets.

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