U.S. Pressing Ahead with Duties on Canadian Softwood Lumber

Construction Lumber w/ U.S. Dollars in Background (Softwood Lumber Duties Concept)

Trade Update • January 25, 2023

anada’s international trade minister, Mary Ng, has said the United States appears to be pressing ahead with what she calls “unjustified” duties on softwood lumber imports. She says the anti-dumping and countervailing duties the U.S. imposes on Canadian softwood lumber are a “little more than a tax on American consumers”.

Although preliminary and won’t take effect until a final review this summer, the latest combined duty rates range between 7.29% and 9.38%.

Ng says Canada will use all avenues to fight the duties, including litigation under NAFTA and its successor, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, and the World Trade Organization.

“With these preliminary results, the U.S. Department of Commerce has indicated its intention to maintain its unjustified duties on imports of Canadian softwood lumber,” Ng said in a statement.

“Canada remains ready and willing to find solutions [to] return to predictable cross-border trade in softwood lumber. We are confident that a negotiated solution to this long-standing issue is in the best interests of both our countries.”

The U.S. wants Canada to address the provincial stumpage fee regime that, according to American producers, gives Canadian producers an unfair advantage.


The dispute over softwood lumber dates back to 1982 and is rooted in a disagreement between the two countries over how much American companies should pay for timber cut from public lands in Canada. The U.S. believes that Canadian companies do not face market prices as they can access timber at below-market prices through government subsidies or provincial pricing policies and then export it to the U.S. at lower costs than domestic producers. Meanwhile, Canadian producers denied those claims and argued that their timber is harvested sustainably and sold fairly on world markets.

Questions about Canada’s softwood lumber exports into the U.S. and these continued duties please contact us. We’re here to help.


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