Antidumping Rate Revision on Canadian Lumber Suspended by Binational Panel

September 10th, 2019 by Kyra Thompson

In a recent development of a legal complaint from several U.S.-based lumber companies over a Canadian softwood tariffs revision that excused a handful of Canadian companies from paying tariffs, a binational panel review urged the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to review its decision that raised duties on lumber imports from Canada.

The panel, assembled in accordance with the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA), released the interim decision on Sept. 4 remanding the ITC’s previous revision of antidumping and countervailing duty (CVD) rates. The panel stated in the decision that the ITC had erroneously concluded that imports of softwood lumber from Canada “materially injured or threatened material injury to an industry in the United States.”

The decision cited several reasons why the ITC’s determination was wrong, among those reasons were that the decision was unsupported by substantial evidence, did not take in to account the industry context, relied on non-current data ignoring relevant data that was available, and erred in its findings of relative substitutability. All together concluding that the ITC had failed to properly support its decision with substantial, relative and accurate evidence and was there for not in accordance with the law.

This suspension of the ITC decision has put a pause on the legal complaint of the Committee Overseeing Action for Lumber International Trade Investigations or Negotiations (the Committee) which asked that an exception to antidumping and CVD rates be revoked.

The change of rates was finalized in 2017 after the ITC determined that Canadian lumber was being dumped into the U.S. market at unfairly low prices. However, the determination is now under suspension under the order of the NAFTA chapter 19 panel that ordered ITC to reconsider its determination that “subject imports prevented price increases which otherwise would have occurred to a significant degree.”

The order gave the ITC 90 days to reevaluate the decision and make corrections.

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