Jul 25 2017
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, joined a bipartisan group of Finance Committee members in calling on the Trump Administration to protect Virginia jobs by addressing the harmful effects of unfairly traded Canadian softwood lumber on American mills and wood product companies.
The U.S. and Canada are currently negotiating a new softwood lumber agreement. At the same time, U.S. companies are challenging Canada’s practice of heavily subsidizing lumber production and selling dumped and subsidized products in the U.S. market, crippling domestic lumber producers in the process. In a bipartisanletter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Senators on the Committee with jurisdiction over issues relating to trade policy urged the Trump Administration to negotiate a clean quota agreement to address unfairly traded softwood lumber from Canada.
“Any long-term agreement must stop the harmful effects of subsidized and unfairly traded Canadian lumber on fair competition with the U.S. producers,” the Senators wrote.
There are over 625 manufacturing facilities operating in the sawmill, millwork, and treating sectors in the U.S. that contribute to approximately 357,000 jobs across the country. In Virginia, more than 27,000 jobs in 78 manufacturing facilities depend on forestry, logging, and wood and paper products, with this sector contributing $7.4 billion in value annually to the Commonwealth.
“The American economy depends on a vibrant domestic lumber industry – from the thousands of workers tied to the wood industry and many private landowners managing forestlands that provide material for mills. Completing a fair agreement will support these jobs and the American economy, particularly in rural communities across the nation,” wrote the Senators.
In a preliminary determination in April, the International Trade Administration (ITA) determined the Canadian lumber industry was subsidized and then imposed preliminary countervailing duties upward of 24 percent on Canadian lumber. In June, ITA found dumping margins of up to 7.7 percent. Final ITA determinations are due by September 6, 2017, and International Trade Commission (ITC) determinations are due by October 21, 2017. In June, the Trump Administration announced new tariffs for Canadian softwood lumber entering the United States.
The signed letter follows: