Reps. DeFazio, Walden, Larsen, Herrera Beutler Applaud New Lumber Tariffs
WASHINGTON—Reps. Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Greg Walden (OR-02), Rick Larsen (WA-02) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) released the following statement in response to the Commerce Department’s announcement of preliminary countervailing duties on softwood lumber imports from Canada:
“Today’s announcement from the Commerce Department gives us hope the U.S. lumber industry may finally see relief from decades of trade abuses. For years, American communities who depend on the softwood lumber industry have had their livelihoods threatened by heavily-subsidized Canadian lumber increasingly imported into the U.S. Our workers have faced high unemployment, and domestic companies have struggled to compete with a highly-subsidized Canadian industry. Thanks to a lack of protection for the lumber industry, Canadian softwood lumber now accounts for one-third of the U.S. market.
“The countervailing duties announced yesterday will give the U.S. lumber industry the ability to invest and grow without the constraints of unfairly imported Canadian lumber.
“Since the expiration of the Softwood Lumber Trade Agreement in 2015, we have been fighting stop the growing influx of Canadian lumber into our market. Today’s action by the Commerce Department confirms what we’ve known all along—Canadian subsidies have severely harmed U.S. manufacturers and workers. We applaud these tariffs as a step in the right direction, yet remain hopeful that a new agreement which allows the U.S. timber industry to grow and compete on a level playing field can be reached.”
In September 2016 Reps. DeFazio, Walden, Larsen, and Herrera Beutler, along with 37 other House Members sent a letter to then-United States Trade Representative Michael Froman supporting efforts to negotiate a new Softwood Lumber Agreement that would put U.S. lumber on a level playing field. Since no new agreement has been reached, the U.S. lumber industry was forced to exercise its rights under U.S. trade laws and file antidumping and countervailing duties cases against Canadian lumber in order to protect American workers, manufacturers, and communities.