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Any level of softwood lumber duties is unfair trade

November 2, 2017

TORONTO—Amendments to the U.S.-imposed duties on softwood lumber exports doesn’t change the crisis facing Canada’s forestry industry, says Unifor.

“Nothing changes today. The tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber are outrageous,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “We expect our government’s response to be bold and confident. Forestry communities deserve nothing less.”

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced today that it would lower the combined countervailing and anti-dumping rate to 20.83 per cent from 26.75 per cent. Conservative estimates suggest that sustained 25% combined duties could yield a loss of 25,000 Canadian jobs.

Unifor says that the $867-million forestry industry aid package announced by the Canadian government in May 2017 will help cushion the blow, but it is not a long-term solution.

“Our forestry industry needs a new softwood agreement that defends good jobs and strengthens Canadian competitiveness,” said Scott Doherty, Executive Assistant to the Unifor National President. “It’s very unlikely these tariffs will stand up to legal scrutiny, so Canada should negotiate from a position of strength.”

In 2002 the U.S. government imposed similar tariffs, but international trade tribunals have consistently over-ruled American duties on Canadian lumber. While Unifor is confident that the new U.S. duties are illegal, it can take years for appeals to be resolved.

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For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell).