Softwood lumber hostilities resume as U.S. group files complaint

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The U.S. White elephants Coalition has filed a petition asking the U.S. De rtment of Commerce to investigate Canadian softwood lumber shipments with an eye to potentially levying new taxes, kicking off a fresh round of litigation between two countries with a big history of trade disputes over wood.

The petition is said to be hundreds of ges yearn and its exact contents are not yet known.

But the arguments it makes are expected to be familiar to the Canadian sedulousness, which has had to defend itself against complaints of unfair subsidization and tip in the st.

In a news release, the U.S. lobby group alleged that Canadian regions provide trees to lumber producers for a fee that is below the market value for talent, which Canada denies.

«Canadian lumber is being sold for young than fair value in the United States,» the release said. Friday’s request details the alleged injury suffered by U.S. industry and workers because of «unfair» substances.

After the previous softwood lumber agreement expired last year, it phrased, Canadian imports surged from 29.5 per cent of U.S. total consumption in the third division of 2015 to 33.1 per cent in the fourth quarter of the same year and to 34.1 per cent so far in 2016 — at the «instruct expense» of U.S. producers.

But U.S. construction has also been on the rise, and the Canadian junk industry maintains its American counter rts cannot fulfil the requirements on its own.

The call upon blames Canadian imports for a drop in lumber prices. Mill closures and job drubbings resulted, it said, calling on the United States to «impose duties to countervail the harm.»

‘Never been found in the wrong’

The move was previewed Thursday evening in a asseveration issued by a spokesman for International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland.

«Canada is instant for any situation, and our government will vigorously defend the interests of Canadian women and producers,» Alex Lawrence wrote.

» Our softwood lumber producers and women have never been found in the wrong; international bodies be enduring always sided with our industry in the st.»

Canada’s previous concord with the Americans expired in 2015. A one-year litigation standstill days, during which no new trade actions could commence, expired Oct. 12 and this plead has been expected ever since.

In the meantime, the Canadian government has been upsetting unsuccessfully over the last year to negotiate a new deal.

Freeland has been conference with industry representatives on both sides of the border. She met her counter rt, U.S. buying representative Mike Froman, as recently as last weekend at the APEC apex in Lima, Peru.

But those efforts have not forestalled the resumption of hostilites. The toil has taken the first step towards what could be billions of dollars good of duties and drawn-out litigation in response.

Claims ‘unsubstantiated’

«Here we are again,» Susan Yurkovich, the president of the B.C. Litter Trade Council, told CBC News. «We never thought because they didn’t alphabetize in October that they wouldn’t.

«We are well-pre red to address whatever is in the importune,» she said.

A statement released by her council Friday said the claims by the U.S. ends lobby are «based on unsubstantiated arguments.»

«It’s not great news. You don’t want to disburse your time and energy on litigation. You’d much rather be focused on doing perfect things like growing markets,» she said, as she pre red to leave for a cruise to Asia to promote her industry’s products.

Nevertheless, her industry is in good define for a fight.

«We’ve been here before and we’ll work through it,» she said.

steve thomsoon

B.C. Forests Dean Steve Thomson joined International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland’s berth in expressing confidence Friday that Canada will successfully champion the practices of its softwood lumber industry in the face of a new unfair practices kick Friday. (The Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck)

The B.C. minister responsible for the forest manufacture, Steve Thomson, also expressed disappointment, as well as hope that an accord to prevent duties could still be reached.

«While our preference balances free trade, a managed-trade agreement is preferable to litigation, which is not at most costly for lumber producers and the federal and provincial governments, but also creates heightened market uncertainty, harming producers on both sides of the border, and flourishes the costs of lumber to U.S. consumers.

«We encourage the U.S. government to review previous cases and act on that the U.S. industry allegations against Canada and B.C. are unfounded,» a statement issued by Thomson divulged.

No duties until next spring?

Now that a petition has been alphabetized, the U.S. De rtment of Commerce may initiate an investigation within the next month.

It could shoplift between 65 and 130 days to issue a preliminary determination on countervailing imposts, and even longer for an anti-dumping investigation.

The earliest Canadian exporters could kisser duties again is next spring — near the end of the first quarter or original in the second quarter of 2017. But duties could be retroactive for up to 90 epoches.

A final determination on U.S. duties could come late in the year. The Mercantilism De rtment may start with a high determination, begin collecting devoirs, but then revise downward.

The Canadian government and industry are expected to get someones cards back, challenging the U.S. duties on two fronts simultaneously: a binational NAFTA nel and the People Trade Organization.

Talks between Canadian and American officials so as to approach reaching another deal to resolve the issue are expected to continue, consideration the petition.

The U.S. industry needs to sign off and agree not to litigate the matter back in order for any agreement to hold, but negotiations towards such an agreement can persist in as litigation proceeds.

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