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September 06, 2019

NAFTA panel finds Canada’s softwood lumber industry hasn’t harmed U.S. producers

A NAFTA binational panel issued its decision on September 4 concerning the imposition by the U.S. of antidumping and/or countervailing duties on imports of Canadian softwood lumber.

The panel ruled that there were insufficient grounds for the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) to determine that Canadian softwood lumber products had materially injured the U.S. softwood industry.

The BC Lumber Trade Council provided the following summary: “In its decision, the NAFTA Panel rightly questioned how the USITC could reach an affirmative determination of injury when the U.S. industry was enjoying the most profitable period in its history without evaluating the industry’s performance in light of the business cycle, particularly in the wake of the recession of 2008-2009.

The panel further found that the USITC failed to take into account its own finding that there was limited substitutability – or attenuated competition – between Canadian and domestic products, rendering its volume and price analyses flawed. The Panel also found fault with every other aspect of the USITC’s conclusion that Canadian imports suppressed U.S. lumber prices during the period of investigation.”

The panel referred the case back to the American commission for a new determination, which is expected within 90 days.

Canada is also challenging the U.S. Commerce Department’s antidumping and countervailing duty determinations before separate NAFTA panels

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