U.S. to double duties on Canadian lumber

Friday 28 May 2021

If Americans thought lumber prices are insane now, just wait until a new layer of duties on Canadian softwood lumber kicks in later this year, adding fuel to the inflation fire.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s (DOC) has issued preliminary countervailing and antidumping rates for Canadian softwood lumber. They will double the duties currently in place, from 9% to 18%. This at a time when North American lumber prices are off the charts, and contributing to inflation in the U.S.

“North American benchmarks are setting new records every week,” Scotiabank Economics says in its April 28 commodities forecast. Since March 2020, the price of Western spruce-pine-fir two-by-fours has soared from slightly less than $400 per thousand board feet to $1,600, according to Natural Resources Canada.

The new duty rates are preliminary and do not go into effect until a final rate is set later this year, according to the BC Lumber Trade Council. “We find the significant increase in today’s preliminary rates troubling," trade council president Susan Yurkovich said in a news release. “It is particularly egregious given lumber prices are at a record high and demand is skyrocketing in the U.S. as families across the country look to repair, remodel and build new homes.

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