Decision on dropping lumber duties to be delayed

Lumber producers will have to wait awhile longer before knowing if the U.S. Department of Commerce will go ahead with a major cut to its anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Canadian softwood lumber.

Originally expected to learn the outcome in August, they will now have to wait until the end of September, according to a note in West Fraser Timber's first quarter financial results. It said the delay is due to a "tolling of all administrative review deadlines by up to 50 days," invoked on April 24.

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In early February, the USDC issued the preliminary results of its first administrative review of the duties that suggested B.C. lumber producers could see duties cut by more than half.

Since Dec. 28, 2017 Canadian producers have been paying 20.23 per cent at the U.S. border, with three major B.C.-based producers - Canfor, Tolko and West Fraser - facing even higher duties.

The USDC's proposed cash deposit rate would drop to 8.21 per cent. Canfor would see its deposit rate drop from 20.52 per cent down to 4.63 per cent; West Fraser's deposit rate would drop from 23.56 per cent to 9.08 per cent; and Tolko's rate would drop from 22.07 per cent to 8.21 per cent.

The start of an administrative review for a second period of investigation will also be delayed, West Fraser said.

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