Canada, US Willing to Negotiate Higher Duties For Canadian Softwood Lumber

Canada “reserves the right” to determine the final position in negotiations over lumber, even as the two countries try to break a trade impasse between the two countries, Canada’s Canadian Trade Minister said Wednesday.

“Canada is disappointed with the final rate on the U.S. application, which was double the preliminary rate applied on December 19. We note that in our preliminary application we proposed a fairer market-based system of non-discriminatory scientific criteria to define the characteristics of softwood lumber,” Canadian Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said in a statement.

“This issue is complex and relies on sound science and fact-based decision-making. I will continue to meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Ottawa and Washington to understand how his administration arrived at the rate it has proposed,” he added.

Under the U.S. Commerce Department proposal, the new duties for Canada will be set at 6.2 percent on Monday after a request from the U.S. industry for higher duties.

The U.S. Commerce Department decided last month to slap a preliminary countervailing duty of 24.37 percent on Canadian softwood lumber.

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