Softwood Lumber

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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

 
For More Information

To learn more about the Canadian softwood lumber industry, and the support available to Canadians, please visit the Natural Resources Canada Softwood Lumber page.

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

  • 01-03-2018 – United Stated Department of Commerce initiates the expedited review process in the ongoing trade remedy proceedings into certain softwood lumber products from Canada.

    On March 1, 2018, the United States Department of Commerce (Commerce) initiated the expedited review process in the ongoing U.S. trade remedy proceedings into certain softwood lumber products from Canada. The U.S. Department of Commerce has initiated expedited reviews for 33 of the 34 Canadian companies that requested such a review, and has granted a rescission request for the 34th company, which will therefore not undergo an expedited review.

    On March 6, 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued initial questionnaires for each company undertaking a review.

    Please see the Frequently Asked Questions section of this website for further information on a variety of related topics, including the expected process, guidance provided by Commerce to date, next steps and deadlines.

  • 01-02-2018 –United States Department of Commerce to toll (extend) all deadlines related to the ongoing countervailing (CVD) and anti-dumping (AD) duty trade remedy proceedings into certain softwood lumber products from Canada

    On January 23, 2018, the Enforcement and Compliance section of the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce), International Trade Administration, announced that it is exercising its discretion to toll all deadlines for the duration of the recent shutdown of the U.S. Federal Government. Deadlines will be extended by 3 days – the duration of the closure.

    According to the U.S. memorandum, the day on which any submission to Enforcement and Compliance is due should be calculated under the regulations as usual, except with the addition of the number of shutdown days.

    It includes deadlines for actions by Enforcement and Compliance (such as preliminary and final determinations in investigations and administrative reviews in AD/CVD proceedings), as well as deadlines for actions by parties to our proceedings (such as the submission of AD/CVD questionnaire responses, supplemental questionnaire responses, pre- and post-hearing briefs, etc.).

    If the new deadline falls on a weekend or a Federal holiday, in accordance with past practice, the deadline will be moved to the next business day.

  • 01-02-2018 – Partial refund of specified anti-dumping duty cash deposits for certain softwood lumber products from Canada pursuant to the amended final anti-dumping determination for the period 08-11-2017 through 02-01-2018

    On January 24, 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) issued instructions to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) authorizing refunds for the difference between the original anti-dumping final determination duty rate and the amended anti-dumping final determination duty rate, for certain softwood lumber products from Canada. The refunds apply only to certain shipments entered from November 8, 2017 (the date of publication of the original anti-dumping final determination in the U.S. Federal Register) through to January 2, 2018 (the day before the date of publication of the amended anti-dumping final determination in the Federal Register). 

    Consistent with past practice, and in accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1520(a)(4) of the U.S. statute, which authorizes the refund of excess cash deposits prior to liquidation, Commerce instructions state that CBP is authorized to grant a refund, if requested by the importer, of cash deposits for entries of certain softwood lumber products (see chart below) which were entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption during the period November 8, 2017 through January 2, 2018.

    The instructions indicate that the refund amount will be calculated by determining the difference between the amount of cash deposits paid as a result of the application of the final anti-dumping duty rate and the amount due as a result of the application of the amended final anti-dumping duty rate.

    Amended final anti-dumping rates:

    CompanyOriginal final Anti-dumping duty rateAmended final anti-dumping duty rateDifference between November 1, 2017 rate and amended rate
    Canfor Corporation8.89%7.28%-1.61%
    All others6.58%6.04%-0.54%

    Please direct any questions or comments to Global Affairs Canada: softwood.boisdoeuvre@international.gc.ca

  • 03-01-2018 – Statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs on final U.S. duties on Canadian softwood lumber

    Minister Freeland issued a statement regarding the imposition today by the United States of final countervailing and anti-dumping duties on imports of certain Canadian softwood lumber products.

  • 20-12-2017 – Softwood Lumber Export Permit Monitoring Program - continued use of the Canadian tariff classifications set out in Annex 1B of the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement

    This message is in reference to the message posted on January 23, 2016  titled For the purposes of the Softwood Lumber Export Permit Monitoring Program use of the HS 2017 changes will be delayed until January 1st, 2018”.

    Please note that, for the purposes of the Softwood Lumber Export Permit Monitoring Program, the Softwood Lumber Division will not implement the HS 2017 changes as originally indicated in the January 23rd, 2016 message.  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.

    For further information please contact:

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

  • 07-12-2017 – United States International Trade Commission votes for an affirmative final determination of material injury and makes a final negative critical circumstances determination

    On December 7, 2017, the U.S. International Trade Commission voted for an affirmative final determination of material injury. The U.S. International Trade Commission also made a negative final critical circumstances determination in regards to anti-dumping duties.

    As a result of this material injury final determination, preliminary cash deposits paid to date for imports of Canadian softwood lumber products that fall within the scope of the U.S. investigations will be held by the U.S. government pending the first administrative review.

    As a result of the negative critical circumstances determination, all importers of record that paid retroactive anti-dumping duties will be refunded. This refund process may take several months to complete.

  • 07-12-2017 – Statement by Minister Freeland in response to the United States International Trade Commission vote on duties on Canadian softwood lumber

    Minister Freeland issued a statement in response to the vote by the United States International Trade Commission finding material injury to U.S. industry from imports of certain softwood lumber products from Canada.

  • 04-12-2017 – United States Department of Commerce amends the original final determination rates in its countervailing and anti-dumping duty investigations into imports of certain Canadian softwood lumber products in a Ministerial correction memorandum.

    On December 4, 2017, the U.S. Department of Commerce amended its final anti-dumping and countervailing duty rates for two mandatory respondents with respect to imports of certain softwood lumber products from Canada, in agreement with some, but not all, of the proposed corrections put forward by Canadian investigated companies.

    The U.S. Department of Commerce has agreed to amend its November 1, 2017 final anti-dumping duty rate for Canfor Corporation from the “original” final rate of 8.89% to 7.28%, and the final countervailing duty rate for West Fraser Mills Ltd. from the “original” final rate of 18.19% to 17.99%.  As a result, the U.S. Department of Commerce also amended the “all others” anti-dumping duty rate from the “original” final rate of 6.58% to 6.04% and the “all others” countervailing duty rate from the “original” final rate of 14.25% to 14.19%, as outlined below.

    Amended final anti-dumping rates:

    CompanyAnti-dumping duty rate in November 1, 2017 Final DeterminationAmended final anti-dumping duty rateDifference between November 1, 2017 rate and amended rate
    Canfor Corporation8.89%7.28%-1.61%
    All others6.58%6.04%-0.54%

    Amended final countervailing duty rates:

    CompanyCountervailing duty rate in November 1, 2017 Final DeterminationAmended final countervailing duty rateDifference between November 1, 2017 rate and amended rate
    West Fraser Mills Ltd.18.19%17.99%-0.20%
    All others14.25%14.19%-0.06%

    Effective Date of “Amended” Duty Rates

    The U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been collecting anti-dumping cash deposits at the erroneous “original” final anti-dumping duty rate of 6.58% for “all others”.  Final “amended” anti-dumping and countervailing duty cash deposit rates will be implemented once the U.S. Department of Commerce issues instructions to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to adjust their collection rate.  It is important to note that the U.S. Department of Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect final anti-dumping and countervailing duty cash deposits going back to December 28, 2017 (the date of publication of the International Trade Commission’s final determination in the U.S. Federal Register).   Therefore, while final anti-dumping and countervailing cash deposits at the “amended” duty rates may not be collected immediately, they will be in force as of 12:00 a.m. on December 28, 2017.

    In past cases, U.S. Customs and Border Protection was authorized to refund the difference between the erroneous “original” final duty rates and the new “amended” final duty rates for all imports that entered the United States on or after the date of publication of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s final anti-dumping duty determination (which was on November 8, in this case). It is important to note that U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s normal practice is to only issue refunds when requested by an importer.  Such refunds should be processed within several months.

    The U.S. Customs and Border Protection may also issue retroactive invoices for countervailing duty cash deposits for imports which took place between December 28, 2017 (the date of publication of the U.S. International Trade Commission’s final determination) and the date of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s instructions to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which will be issued following the publication of the duty Orders on January 3, 2018.  Invoices would be due upon receipt.

    Duties Collected During Anti-Dumping “Gap Period”

    The U.S. Tariff Act allows the provisional collection of anti-dumping duty cash deposits to remain in effect for only 180 days (in this case, from 12:00 a.m. on June 30, 2017 to 11:59 p.m. on December 26, 2017).  

    A “gap period” in the authorized collection of anti-dumping cash deposits thus began as of 12:00 a.m. on December 27, 2017.  The authorized collection of cash deposits resumed as of 12:00 a.m. on December 28, 2017, the date of publication of the U.S. International Trade Commission’s final determination in the U.S. Federal Register. 

    For any anti-dumping duty cash deposits that were collected on imports entering the United States during the one-day anti-dumping “gap period” on December 27, 2017, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s normal practice is to issue instructions to U.S. Customs and Border Protection ordering the refund of any anti-dumping cash deposits that were incorrectly collected.

  • 29-11-2017 – Canada requests WTO consultations on U.S. duties on Canadian softwood lumber

    On November 28, 2017, Canada formally requested World Trade Organization (WTO) consultations with the United States concerning the U.S. Department of Commerce’s recent final anti-dumping and countervailing duty determinations on imports of certain softwood lumber products from Canada.

    Statement: Canada requests WTO consultations on U.S. duties on Canadian softwood lumber

  • 08-11-2017 – United States Department of Commerce publishes its final determinations in the countervailing and anti-dumping investigations into imports of certain Canadian softwood lumber products in the U.S. Federal Register, and the final scope definition takes effect

    On November 8, 2017, the U.S. Department of Commerce published its final determinations in their anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations into imports of certain softwood lumber products from Canada, in the U.S. Federal Register.

    Final anti-dumping and countervailing duties will not take effect until the date of publication of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s final duty Orders in the U.S. Federal Register. This is expected in December 2017 or January 2018. However, the U.S. Department of Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect final anti-dumping and countervailing duties as of the date of publication of the International Trade Commission’s final determination in the U.S. Federal Register.

    The International Trade Commission’s final determination is due 45 days from the date of publication of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s final determinations in the U.S. Federal Register. Therefore, while final anti-dumping and final countervailing duties will not be collected immediately, they will be in force as of the date of publication of the U.S. International Trade Commission’s final determination in the U.S. Federal Register.

    The U.S. Department of Commerce will adjust the anti-dumping cash deposit rates to reflect their final anti-dumping rates. This adjustment to the anti-dumping cash deposit rates will take effect as of 12:00 a.m. on November 8, 2017 (the date of publication of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s final determination in the U.S. Federal Register). There will be no similar adjustment to the collection of countervailing duty cash deposits, as the countervailing duty gap period is in place, during which time no collection of countervailing duty cash deposits can take place.

    Final Scope Definition and Exclusions:

    The U.S. Department of Commerce’s final scope definition will take effect as of 12:00 a.m. on November 8, 2017.

    Exports from Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador should not be subject to anti-dumping and countervailing duties as of 12:00 a.m. on November 8, 2017. These exports must be certified by the Atlantic Lumber Board as having been first produced in these three provinces, and having been harvested from logs in these three provinces. The U.S. Department of Commerce has indicated that following the publication of final duty orders, it will order the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to refund any preliminary anti-dumping and countervailing duties which were accompanied by the Atlantic Lumber Board certificate. The publication of the final duty Orders is expected in December 2017 or January 2018. This refund process may take several months to complete.

    Exporters whose products are no longer within the scope of the U.S. investigations should not be subject to anti-dumping and countervailing duties as of 12:00 a.m. on November 8, 2017. Preliminary anti-dumping and countervailing duties paid for products that were preliminarily included in the scope of the U.S. investigations but excluded from the final scope should be refunded.

  • 01-11-2017 – United States Department of Commerce decides to not proceed with a company exclusions process

    On November 1, 2017, the U.S. Department of Commerce confirmed that it will not undertake a company exclusions process as part of the current countervailing duty investigation into Canadian softwood lumber products. This is further to the U.S. Department of Commerce April 25, 2017 decision memo on company exclusions that outlined their decision that they lack the authority to conduct a company exclusions process in the context of the current countervailing duty trade remedy proceedings. This decision was taken on the basis that the U.S. Department of Commerce is conducting the proceedings on a company-specific basis, not an aggregate basis.

    This decision was taken despite the fact that the Government of Canada filed a written submission to the U.S. Department of Commerce on a proposal for a company exclusions process, offering to work with the Department to further develop the proposal. In addition, the U.S. Lumber Coalition had filed a written submission to the U.S. Department of Commerce which indicated that a limited company exclusions process would be appropriate in this case.

    As a result of this decision, Global Affairs Canada will be taking steps to take down the company exclusions e-portal in the coming days. All basic information about companies who applied for the e-portal will be kept on file at Global Affairs Canada for record keeping purposes only. In addition, the dedicated company exclusions phone line and email address will also cease operations immediately.

    Please direct any questions or comments to Global Affairs Canada: softwood.boisdoeuvre@international.gc.ca

  • 01-11-2017 – United States Department of Commerce excludes certain softwood lumber products originating in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador from U.S. duties and issues final scope definition for both the anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations.

    On November 1, 2017, the U.S. Department of Commerce in its final determination, further modified and finalized the scope language of the Initiation Notice originally issued on December 15, 2016. This modification applies to both the anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations and takes effect as of the date of publication of the final determination in the U.S. Federal Register, which will occur in the coming days.

    The final scope definition includes the following language, which outlines two additional exclusions from the scope of the investigations since the preliminary determination:

      • Finished products are not covered by the scope of the investigations. For the purposes of the scope, finished products contain, or are comprised of, subject merchandise and have undergone sufficient processing such that they can no longer be considered intermediate products, and such products can be readily differentiated from merchandise subject to this investigation at the time of importation. Such differentiation may, for example, be shown through marks of special adaptation as a particular product. The following products are illustrative of the type of merchandise that is considered “finished,” for the purpose of this scope: I-joists; assembled pallets; cutting boards; assembled picture frames; garage doors.
      • The scope of the investigations excludes softwood lumber products certified by the Atlantic Lumber Board as being first produced in the Provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, or Prince Edward Island from logs harvested in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, or Prince Edward Island.

    The Department of Commerce also made some minor adjustments to the HTSUS codes included in the scope definition; however, it should be noted that the inclusion of HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the scope of the investigations is dispositive.

    For a full description of the final scope of the U.S. investigations, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions section.

    Exclusion of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador:

    As of the date of publication of the final determinations in the U.S. Federal Register, exports from Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador to the United States, which are certified by the Atlantic Lumber Board as having been first produced in these three provinces, and having been harvested from logs in these three provinces, should not be subject to anti-dumping and countervailing duties. The publication is expected in the coming days.

    The U.S. Department of Commerce has indicated that following the publication of final duty orders, it will order the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to refund any preliminary anti-dumping and countervailing duties which were accompanied by the Atlantic Lumber Board certificate. The publication of the final duty orders are expected in December 2017 or January 2018. This refund process may take several months to complete.

    U.S. Department of Commerce announcement on the Exclusion of Canadian Atlantic Provinces from Softwood Lumber Investigations

  • 01-11-2017 – United States Department of Commerce announces its final determination in the countervailing and anti-dumping duty investigations into imports of certain Canadian softwood lumber products

    On November 1, 2017, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced its final countervailing and anti-dumping determinations with respect to imports of certain softwood lumber products from Canada. The U.S. Department of Commerce has found that the Canadian federal and provincial governments are providing countervailable subsidies to Canadian softwood lumber producers and that the investigated products are being dumped into the United States at prices below those for comparable sales in Canada or below the cost of producing the products.

    The U.S. Department of Commerce issued company-specific final countervailing and anti-dumping duty rates for the four mandatory respondents, and a final company-specific countervailing duty rate for the one voluntary respondent J.D. Irving. All other companies will be subject to the “all others” countervailing duty rate of 14.25% and the “all others” anti-dumping duty rate of 6.58%, as outlined below.

    CompanyFinal anti-dumping duty rateFinal countervailing duty rateCombined final duty rates
    Canfor Corporation8.89%13.24%22.13%
    Resolute Forest Products Canada Inc.3.20%14.70%17.90%
    Tolko Marketing Sales Ltd.7.22%14.85%22.07%
    West Fraser Mills Ltd5.57%18.19%23.76%
    J.D. Irving Ltd.6.58% (All Others)3.34%9.92%
    All Others6.58%14.25%20.83%

    The U.S. Department of Commerce will adjust the provisional anti-dumping cash deposit rates to reflect their final anti-dumping rates. This adjustment to the provisional anti-dumping cash deposit rates will take effect on the date of publication of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s final determination in the U.S. Federal Register. There will be no similar adjustment to the provisional collection of countervailing duty cash deposits, as the countervailing duty gap period is in place, during which time no collection of countervailing duty cash deposits can take place.

    It is also important to note that final anti-dumping and countervailing duties will not begin to be collected until after the publication of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s final duty orders in the U.S. Federal Register. This is expected in December 2017 or January 2018. However, the U.S. Department of Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect final anti-dumping and countervailing duties retroactively as of the date of publication of the International Trade Commission’s final determination in the U.S. Federal Register.  Therefore, while final anti-dumping and final countervailing duties will not be collected as of this date, they will be in force as of the date of publication of the U.S. International Trade Commission’s final determination in the U.S. Federal Register.

    Retroactive application of countervailing and anti-dumping duties:

    On November 1, 2017, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that it has made a final negative critical circumstances determination in regards to its countervailing duty investigation. As a result, all importers of record that paid retroactive countervailing duties will be refunded.

    In addition, the U.S. Department of Commerce made a final affirmative critical circumstances determination in its anti-dumping investigation for all companies, except for Canfor.  If the U.S. International Trade Commission makes a final affirmative finding of critical circumstances, final retroactive anti-dumping duties will apply to imports of softwood lumber products captured within the scope of the U.S. investigations from 12:00 a.m. on April 1, 2017, through 11:59 p.m. on June 29, 2017.

    The retroactive anti-dumping duties for the “all others” companies would be collected at the  final anti-dumping rate of 6.58%

  • 02-11-2017 – Joint Statement by Minister Carr and Minister Freeland in response to United States Department of Commerce countervailing and anti-dumping duty final determination

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

More recent developments