Nova Scotia has learned it will be excluded from U.S. import measures on softwood lumber. The United States Department of Commerce issued the ruling, today, Nov 2.
“We are pleased the United States government has recognized the legitimacy of our long-standing exclusion,” said Premier Stephen McNeil, who is also Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. “While this is welcome news for Nova Scotia, we recognize that this is a difficult time for Canadian industry as a whole as many are faced with duties.”
Provincial officials have collaborated with industry, federal and U.S. officials since the expiry of the previous Softwood Lumber Agreement to explain why the exclusion should be maintained.
The Canada-U.S. Softwood Lumber Agreement expired in October 2015. It prevented any fees or quotas on lumber harvested from the Atlantic provinces.
On Nov. 25, 2016, the United States Lumber Coalition filed petitions with the United States International Trade Commission and the United States Department of Commerce alleging that certain provinces in Canada illegally subsidize lumber producers and that certain producers dump products into the U.S. market. There were no allegations of subsidy relevant to Nova Scotia sawmills.
A preliminary ruling on countervailing duties by the Commerce Department this spring temporarily imposed duties of 19.88 per cent on Nova Scotia producers.
The U.S. Lumber Coalition subsequently requested that the Commerce Department exclude softwood lumber products produced in Nova Scotia from the ongoing anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations.
In June, the Commerce Department issued preliminary anti-dumping duties of 6.87 per cent. This preliminary ruling also acknowledged that softwood lumber products produced in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island should be excluded from the ongoing investigation. Producers have been paying duties in the form of cash deposits while waiting for the final ruling.
“This decision confirms that Nova Scotia’s producers operate in a market-based, unsubsidized system and therefore compete on a level playing field with American producers,” said Geoff MacLellan, Trade Minister. “The ultimate outcome all governments seek is a negotiated agreement that brings predictability and stability to industry on both sides of the border.”
Nova Scotia has approximately 11,500 direct and indirect jobs supported by the provincial forestry industry.