U.S. delays penalties on Canadian lumber imports for two months
“I remain hopeful that we can reach a negotiated solution that satisfied the concerns of all parties,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement announcing the reprieve.
“This extension could provide the time needed to address the complex issues at hand and to reach an equitable and durable suspension agreement,” he added.
Ross said that penalties which had been scheduled to take effect September 7 would now be delayed until November 14.
The U.S. announced in April that it would impose duties of up to 20% on imports of Canadian softwood lumber, which totaled more than $5 billion last year.
Washington has accused Ottawa of unfairly subsidizing softwood exports, allowing Canadian industry to undercut U.S. competitors.
Ross’s concession on one of the major economic flashpoints between the U.S. and its northern neighbor comes as the Trump administration is in the early stages of renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.
The lumber dispute isn’t directly part of Nafta, but tensions around the issue could complicate those broader talks. ■