Nov. 2 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Commerce announced Thursday it will impose countervailing and antidumping import duties on several Canadian softwood lumber firms.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the department determined Canada is providing unfair subsidies to its producers of softwood lumber at rates from 3.34 percent to 18.19 percent and has sold softwood lumber to the United States at 3.20 percent to 8.89 percent less than fair value.
"While I am disappointed that a negotiated agreement could not be made between domestic and Canadian softwood producers, the United States is committed to free, fair and reciprocal trade with Canada," Ross said.
As a result of the findings, Commerce instructed U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect import duties averaging 20.83 percentt on Canadian lumber imports.
"This decision is based on a full and unbiased review of the facts in an open and transparent process that defends American workers and businesses from unfair trade practices," Ross said.
Jason Brochu, co-chairman and co-president of the U.S. Lumber Coalition, said he was "pleased the U.S. government is enforcing our trade laws so that the U.S. lumber industry can compete on a level playing field."
In a joint statement, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland and Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr described the decision as "unfair, unwarranted and deeply troubling."
"We will forcefully defend Canada's softwood lumber industry, including through litigation, and we expect to prevail as we have in the past," Freeland and Carr said. "We are reviewing our options, including legal action through the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization, and we will not delay in taking action."
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he didn't expect the softwood lumber decision to affect NAFTA negotiations between the United States and Canada.
"We have kept the decisions and the discussions around softwood separate from discussions on NAFTA, but obviously every different aspect of our deep and broad relationship with the United States comes into the conversation that we have regularly," he said.