Ottawa considers trade actions against United States over softwood lumber tariffs

Robert Lighthizer U.S. trade representative nominee for President Donald Trump listens during a Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing in Washington D.C. in March

Ottawa considers trade actions against United States over softwood lumber tariffs

Canada is considering multiple trade actions against the United States in response to tariffs on softwood lumber.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau informed British Columbia (B.C.) Premier Christy Clark in a letter that he was considering her call for a ban on thermal coal exports, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported. US producers say Canadian lumber is unfairly subsidized, a charge Canada has successfully fought in trade tribunals.

The Canadian government has also said that it is considering levying tariffs on OR state lumber products after it said they found existing OR business assistance programs that may constitute an illegal subsidy.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Saturday fired back at Canada following reports that Ottawa's government is considering retaliatory actions against the US for imposing preliminary countervailing duties on Canadian softwood lumber products - threats that Ross deemed "inappropriate".

Trade relations between the United States and second-largest trading partner Canada have soured since the Commerce Department in late April imposed preliminary anti-subsidy duties averaging 20 percent on Canadian softwood lumber imports.

The Canadian government now says it wants a long-term settlement - or else.

The Canadian Press reported that Trudeau has also considered trade actions against companies in Oregon.

The B.C. Liberal leader, who is campaigning ahead of Tuesday's provincial election, says they also share a desire to reduce global reliance on dirty thermal coal as a source of electricity.

Trudeau said Ottawa would study whether to stop US firms from shipping thermal coal via the Pacific province of British Columbia.

According to the Canadian Press agency, Trudeau was also looking at other retaliatory measures, such as duties on plywood, flooring, wood chips, packaging material and wine from the U.S. state of Oregon.

The federal government has begun studying all business subsidies in that state, home to Democratic Sen.

Ross said in his statement on Saturday that the Commerce Department's decision "was based on the facts presented, not on political considerations".

"Threats of retaliatory action are inappropriate and will not influence any final determinations", he continued.

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