The US Commerce Department today announced final anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariffs on imports of Canadian softwood lumber products into the United States.  This decision was lauded by the Forest Landowners Association (FLA) as the right action to stem the onslaught of subsidized Canadian lumber into US markets.

“Without an agreement in place, the utilization of the sustainable supply of forests in the US further exacerbates the depressed lumber pricing and adversely affects timberland values. This is a situation that needs to be fixed and today’s announcement by the Department of Commerce was a positive step in that direction,” stated Scott Jones, FLA President and CEO. “Over half of the forest in the US are privately owned and almost all the wood provided to US manufacturers is supplied by family forest landowners.  These US landowners sell to mills in a free and competitive marketplace and when they must compete with the Canadian government, who owns over 90% of the forests in Canada, the result is lower prices for their timber.  Landowners depend on these markets to continue providing economic and environmental benefits these forests provide our society.”

“The unfair Canadian subsidies are hurting American forest landowners and harming our markets. That’s why over a year ago, FLA set as a priority to address this issue, actively engaging with the US Department of Commerce and members of Congress.,” commented Hayes Brown, FLA Government Affairs Chairman and Alabama forestland owner.  “We are encouraged by the actions of the Department of Commerce to protect private forest landowners, sawmill workers and rural economies in this country by defining the impact of unfair subsidies by the Canadian government to their lumber manufacturers.”

FLA has been actively engaged with the Department of Commerce and members of Congress to clearly communicate the impact the absence of a trade agreement with Canada on softwood lumber has on markets for private forest landowners in the US.  FLA is working in conjunction with the US Lumber Coalition and its members to seek enforcement of our trade laws so that the US lumber industry and forest landowners can compete on a level playing field.

Next steps
The tariffs mandated by Commerce must still be approved the US International Trade Commission. The ITC has 45 days to issue its final determination; with a ruling expected  on December 18, 2017. Should the ITC rule that the American lumber industry was harmed by dumping and subsidies, the tariffs will become permanent.

Commerce Finds Dumping and Subsidization of Imports of Softwood Lumber from Canada
Why The Softwood Lumber Agreement Matters to Forest Landowners and Markets: Q&A with 4th Generation Family Forest Landowner Robert Crosby