November 26, 2020

Government of Saskatchewan Welcomes Trade Decision On Softwood Lumber

The Government of Saskatchewan welcomes the decision by the United States Department of Commerce on its first administrative review of duties imposed on Canadian softwood lumber exports to the United States (US). The review was initially launched in 2017.

The decision announced Tuesday retroactively reduces the duties to the US that have been imposed on softwood lumber exports from 20 per cent to nine per cent.  Since 2017, Saskatchewan forestry companies have paid over $50 million in duties to the US government. The reduction is expected to result in several millions of dollars in relief back to Saskatchewan softwood lumber producers. Currently, Canada supplies approximately 30 per cent of the US’s softwood lumber demand.

“The American duties on Canadian softwood lumber exports continue to be unfair and unjustified,” Trade and Export Development Minister Jeremy Harrison said.  “This reduction in duties, however, is a step in the right direction for advancing free trade for our softwood exports.”

Saskatchewan’s forestry sector continues to play an important role in the province’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The forestry sector employs thousands of northerners and Indigenous people and is northern Saskatchewan’s largest industry. The forestry sector also supports dozens of First Nations-owned businesses, including in timber harvesting, road construction, trucking, and reforestation.

“Since July, prices for lumber have soared to all-time highs due to record repair and renovation retail sales,” Energy and Resources Minister Bronwyn Eyre said.  “We welcome Tuesday’s news.  However, imposed duties continue to harm the competitiveness of our vital forestry sector, and we will continue to defend it from unfair duties.”

In 2019, Saskatchewan forest product sales were $946 million, and the sector directly and indirectly employed 7,800 people.