Softwood Lumber

The softwood lumber industry is an important sector in the Canadian economy, supporting thousands of jobs in communities across Canada and creating many positive spin-off effects in related industries and services. Canada's modern, efficient, environmentally sustainable lumber companies have the potential to serve markets at home and around the world.

In the United States, where demand for lumber exceeds what domestic mills can supply, housing and other industries rely on Canada for stable, predictable access to quality products. The 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA), which provided stability and predictability for industry on both sides of the border, expired on October 12, 2015.

Canada and the United States continue to pursue a negotiated outcome to this important bilateral issue. The Government is also meeting on a regular basis with industry, provinces and territories, and other stakeholders.

Softwood Lumber Dispute

The Canada-U.S. softwood lumber dispute has become one of the most enduring trade disputes between both nations. Over the past 25 years, the United States lumber industry has frequently sought U.S. government restrictions on Canadian softwood lumber imports through the application of U.S. countervailing duty and antidumping laws – laws that allow the imposition of import duties when a U.S. industry is allegedly harmed by subsidies in the exporting country (countervailing duties), or by dumping, which is when a U.S. industry is allegedly harmed by imported products sold at prices that are lower than the cost of production or lower than prices in the domestic market (anti-dumping duties).

Recent Developments

  • 24-04-2017- Joint Statement of Minister Freeland and Minister Carr in response to United States Department of Commerce countervailing duty preliminary determination

    Minister Freeland and Minister Carr issued a joint statement in response to these determinations by the United States Department of Commerce.

  • 24-04-2017 – United States Department of Commerce issues preliminary determination in countervailing duty investigation into imports of certain Canadian softwood lumber products

    The United States Department of Commerce issued its preliminary determination in its countervailing duty investigation into imports of certain softwood lumber products from Canada. The United States Department of Commerce found that Canadian softwood lumber imports into the United States were subsidised and calculated company specific-rates for the four mandatory respondents and one voluntary respondent as follows:

    • Canfor Corporation: 20.26%
    • Tolko Marketing Sales Ltd.: 19.50%
    • West Fraser Mills Ltd.: 24.12%
    • Resolute Forest Products Canada Inc.: 12.82%
    • J.D. Irving Ltd.: 3.02%

    For all other companies, the U.S. Department of Commerce has calculated an “all others” countervailing duty rate of 19.88%.

    Duties will come into effect upon publication in the U.S. Federal Register.

  • 24-04-2017 – United States Department of Commerce issues its preliminary determination of critical circumstances

    The United States Department of Commerce made an affirmative preliminary critical circumstances determination, concluding that there has been a surge of importations (known as “massive importations”) into the United States of Canadian softwood lumber products exported by J.D. Irving Ltd and all other Canadian softwood lumber companies with the exception of the four mandatory respondents (Canfor Corporation, West Fraser Mills Ltd., Tolko Marketing Sales Ltd., and Resolute FP Canada Inc.) 

    As a result of this determination, the U.S. Department of Commerce has indicated it will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to apply countervailing and anti-dumping duties retroactively to 90 days prior to the publication of both the anti-dumping and countervailing preliminary determinations in the U.S. Federal Register.

  • 13-01-2017 – The U.S. International Trade Commission’s preliminary finding of material injury caused by Canadian softwood lumber products

    On January 13, 2017, the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) published its preliminarily determination that the U.S. industry is materially injured by virtue of imports of Canadian softwood lumber products. This decision means that the U.S. Department of Commerce will continue its anti-dumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations into Canadian softwood lumber products. If the U.S. Department of Commerce makes affirmative preliminary determinations, preliminary AD and CVD duties would be applicable at that time.

    The U.S. Department of Commerce also confirmed it will proceed with a company-specific CVD investigation and identified that its mandatory respondents are West Fraser, Tolko, Canfor and Resolute Forest Products.

  • 23-12-2016 – For the purposes of the Softwood Lumber Export Permit Monitoring Program use of the HS 2017 changes will be delayed until January 1st, 2018

    With the imminent adoption by Canada of the World Customs Organization 2017 Harmonized System (HS 2017) nomenclature on January 1st, 2017, coupled with the United States’ delayed adoption of HS 2017 changes for Chapter 44 (Wood and articles of wood; wood charcoal) until January 1st, 2018 - the Softwood Lumber Division of Global Affairs Canada would like to inform you of the following:

    For the purposes of the Softwood Lumber Export Permit Monitoring Program, the implementation of HS 2017 changes will be delayed until January 1st, 2018. When applying for an export permit, Exporters and Brokers of Softwood Lumber Products should continue to use the Canadian tariff classifications set out in Annex 1B of the Softwood Lumber Agreement Between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America, signed on September 12, 2006, as it read on October 12, 2015.

    A Notice will be published in the fall of 2017 announcing the implementation of HS 2017 changes as of January 1st, 2018.

    For further information please contact:

    Sylvain Emond
    Softwood Lumber Division
    343-203-3723
    Sylvain.emond@international.gc.ca

  • 28-11-2016 – Petition to United States Government to Launch Investigation into Imports of Certain Canadian Softwood Lumber Products

    On November 25, 2016, the Committee Overseeing Action for Lumber International Trade Investigations or Negotiations filed petitions with the United States Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission, requesting the initiation of countervailing, anti-dumping and injury investigations into imports of certain softwood lumber products from Canada.

  • 19-10-2016 – Possible Company Exclusions Process Regarding a Potential United States Investigation Into Imports of Certain Softwood Lumber Products from Canada

    In anticipation of a possible investigation by the United States into imports of certain softwood lumber products from Canada, the Government of Canada has developed an e-portal. The e-portal will assist companies to apply to be considered for exclusion from any countervailing duties that could result from this investigation. The e-portal will initially allow Canadian companies to: a) create their profiles and b) access the current version of the Company Exclusions package, which will be updated following initiation of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Note that the e-portal will only enable companies to apply following initiation by the United States. Please note also that the United States has not agreed to undertake such an exclusions process and is under no obligation to do so.

    All information regarding eligibility for the company exclusions process will be available exclusively through the e-portal. For those that register, the e-portal administrators will email to advise of any changes to the Company Exclusions package. For further information, please see Notice to Exporters Serial 200.

    Questions regarding the company exclusions process can be directed to:

    Telephone: 1 800 438-9092
    Email: info@companyexclusions.ca
    E-portal web address: www.companyexclusions.ca

More recent developments...

Reports

Monthly Export Reports (Canada-US)

2017

2016

More Softwood Lumber historic reports...

Contact Us

If you have questions or comments, please contact Global Affairs Canada at:

Softwood Lumber Division (TNS)
Global Affairs Canada
Lester B. Pearson Building
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G2
Fax: 613-944-8950
Email: softwood.boisdoeuvre@international.gc.ca