The Government of Nova Scotia is disappointed by the United States Department of Commerce’s announcement today, April 25, that it is delaying a decision on a request to be excluded from countervailing duties on softwood lumber and to temporarily impose duties until a final decision is made.
“We are disappointed by the announcement and by the decision to impose countervailing duties until a final decision is made,” said Trade Minister Michel Samson.
“We remain determined to get excluded as quickly as possible as industry and government have worked very hard to validate our long-standing exclusion which reflects the fact that lumber producers here compete on a level playing field with United States industry.”
The interim ruling stated that a decision on the exclusion request will be incorporated into the final countervailing duty and anti-dumping duty determinations to follow this fall.
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 relative to Nova Scotia sawmills.
On Dec. 16, 2016, the Department of Commerce announced the initiation of anti-dumping duty and countervailing duty investigations of imports of certain softwood lumber products from Canada.
The U.S. Lumber Coalition subsequently amended its petition to the Department of Commerce to exclude Nova Scotia production from the ongoing anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations following a mission to Washington D.C. by a provincial industry delegation led by Mr. Samson and Natural Resources Minister Lloyd Hines.
“We will not give up. We will continue to work with the Government of Canada, our fellow Atlantic provinces and the softwood lumber industry toward achieving an exclusion,” said Mr. Samson. “The ultimate outcome all governments seek is a negotiated agreement that brings predictability and stability to industry on both sides of the border.”
Securing an exclusion from duties is key to ensuring the competitiveness of Nova Scotia’s forestry sector. The forest products industry contributes over $2 billion in direct and indirect outputs, including $800 million in GDP. It provides 11,500 direct and indirect jobs in rural areas.
The U.S. Department of Commerce is expected to announce a final determination on countervailing duties and anti-dumping duties in the fall.