Softwood Lumber Agreement 2019
In November 2016, CNN received a leaked memo from Donald Trump`s transition team showing that Trump was advised to include the coniferous timber dispute in the renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement and to obtain more favorable terms for the United States.  The coniferous timber agreement expired on October 12, 2015. Canadian conifer producers now have unfettered access to the U.S. coniferous market. “While we are pleased with the panel`s decision to refer the U.S. wood industry violation case to the USITC for review, we are disappointed that the panel did not make a similar finding regarding the USITC`s decision that cedar/redwood is a different product group than base wood,” Don Demens, CEO of Western Forest Products, said in a statement. As a result, they will issue instructions to the U.S. Customs and Border Services Administration to impose CVD and AD tariffs on all timber shipments from Canada since December 28, 2017. On September 28, 2020, the United States appealed the August 2020 WTO panel report on Canada`s U.S. countervailing duty challenge on coniferous timber. Officially referred to as investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), investment disputes can only be resolved in Canadian or U.S. courts, or through diplomatic channels, from state to state. These alternatives are neither quick nor impartial; and experienced forest players will remember before 1982, when there was no impartial or international arena to resolve softwood lumber disputes and legal proceedings were conducted in some U.S.
states or at the federal level in Canada. These authorities did not really have the power to impose their decisions. U.S. sawmill production, as a percentage of practical capacity for the first nine months of 2019, declined sharply compared to the same date in 2018; to 83 percent, from 86 percent in 2018, the latest Western Wood Products Association monthly Lumber Track said. For January-September 2019, Canadian sawmill production fell from a stumbling block as a percentage of practical capacity and ended up at 80% from 89% the previous year. On August 24, 2020, the WTO panel, which ruled on Canada`s challenge to U.S. countervailing duties on coniferous timber, released its final report. Canada welcomes the panel`s finding that U.S. countervailing duties on Canadian coniferous timber are inconsistent with U.S. WTO obligations. “This decision supports what Canada has been saying all the time: U.S.
tariffs on Canadian softwood are unfair and unjustified,” freeland said. The panel`s decision is an important step in the right direction to remove these tariffs on Canadian imports and refund the amounts levied (in the form of tariffs). Canadian coniferous producers imposed anti-dumping duties of an average of 20% on softwood exports to the United States.