U.S. chops Canadian softwood duties in half
The United States will reduce average duties on Canadian softwood lumber to 10.81 per cent, chopping them almost in half.
That new figure, issued by the U.S. Commerce Dept., includes a countervailing duty of 8.7 per cent on lumber imported from all regions except the Maritimes.
Anti-dumping duties will vary, but the average will be 2.11 per cent.
The U.S. is currently penalizing Canadian producers with duties of about 20 per cent.
The new figures are based on a review of Canadian products from the 2003-04 period.
"That's certainly good news," Carl Grenier of the Montreal-based Free Trade Lumber Council told The Canadian Press on Tuesday.
"That will take the monthly bill of $90 million to $100 million and cut it in half. The department is running out of technical ways of keeping the rate up."
Canada has argued the U.S. isn't following proper procedures to determine whether Canadian softwood products are unfairly subsidized and dumped on the U.S. market.
The World Trade Organization issued a ruling on Monday that supported Canada's position, saying U.S. methods are inconsistent with international rules.
That ruling allows Canada to retaliate against U.S. goods if it chooses.
Since 2002, the U.S. has collected $5 billion in penalties from Canadian softwood producers.
Canada's position is that the U.S. should charge no duties on Canadian lumber products. The federal government is seeking the return of the $5 billion to Canadian producers.
Several NAFTA rulings have supported the Canadian position, but the U.S. has been unwilling to comply to date and has instead called for more negotiations.
Ron MacDonald, an international trade consultant in Vancouver, told CTV Newsnet's Mike Duffy Live that today's move doesn't put the U.S. in compliance with the NAFTA rulings.
"That's what we're waiting to see: Is the U.S. administration prepared not just to go in this direction, which is positive, but to go all the way in this direction and fully comply with NAFTA?"