IMRA TO USTR: DONÆT RESTRICT CANADIAN SOFTWOOD LUMBER TRADE
The International Mass Retail Association has asked Ambassador Robert Zoellick, the U.S. Trade Representative, to refrain from negotiating new restriction on Canadian softwood lumber imports.
While IMRA wants discussions between the U.S. and Canadian governments to continue, the group opposes negotiations of new restrictions on Canadian softwood lumber, such as export taxes.
IMRA’s members include numerous companies that purchase lumber from imported and domestic sources.
“We are deeply concerned that the application of remedies in the case of softwood lumber from Canada has created a situation where the United States is exerting undue pressure on Canada to negotiate a deal that will include the imposition of export restrictions and taxes,” said Robert J. Verdisco, president of IMRA.
“We are very disappointed with the Department of Commerce’s preliminary determination of a 19.3-percent countervailing duty on Canadian softwood lumbers imports. This new ‘tax’ could add as much as $1,000 to $2,000 to the price of a new home,” he added. “We strongly believe this is a flawed decision that would not be able to survive a challenge by Canada in the World Trade Organization.”
IMRA is also concerned about the pending preliminary determination on antidumping, which could add an additional duty of 39 percent to the cost of lumber.
“We question how a handful of domestic producers were able to bring an antidumping case against Canada two days after the Softwood Lumber Agreement, which imposed restrictions on imports, elapsed (on March 31). There is no way that dumping could have occurred under these circumstances,” Verdisco said. “To us these cases look like pressure tactics designed to force a negotiated settlement that will, once again, focus on controlling the price of lumber instead of dealing with the underlying dispute.”