Softwood Lumber Dispute (U.S. - Canada)

Softwood lumber.jpg

Developments in the Canadian Softwood Lumber Dispute

July 3, 2019: DOC: Expedited Review exempts 5 companies from SWL Order.

June 8, 2019: DOC: Preliminary anti-circumvention decision on hardwood plywood from China (A-570-051/C-570-052). A certification requirement to be created for importers and exporters of plywood from China. Additional reading: Issues memo.

June 4, 2019: Canada’s appeal in the WTO Softwood Lumber dispute case.

April 9, 2019: WTO: DS534: United States — Anti-Dumping Measures Applying Differential Pricing Methodology to Softwood Lumber from Canada

February 7, 2019: Results of Expedited Reviews.

January 14, 2018: 
Article: WTO Canada's complaint "based on 200 examples of offenses."

January 10, 2018:
WTO: Canada files dispute to the WTO over Softwood Lumber.. Financial Times Article.  USTR Lighthizer's response.

January 5, 2018: 
Canada: Statement of Minister of Foreign Affairsin response to ADCVD Orders.

January 1, 2017:
Commerce: Canadian Softwood Lumber AD and CVD final deposit rates.
Decision Memorandum.

December 30, 2017:
Pre-Release of Final Order in Softwood Lumber.

December 7, 2017:
ITC: Final injury determination announced.

December 06, 2017: 
CSMS #17-000753:ALB Certificate requirements 

November 26, 2017: 

Canada opens WTO case against punitive U.S. duties on softwood lumber imports: Article Summary

Canadian NAFTA Dispute against U.S. Softwood Lumber ADCVD Orders: Article Summary



November 2, 2017:  ITA: pre-published decisions on Final Rates: Antidumping Decision
     Countervailing Decision

October 26, 2017: USDA: Softwood Lumber Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Industry Information Order; De Minimis Quantity Exemption Threshold.

September 27, 2017:  Updated ITC Schedule

September 1, 2017: ITA:  Postponement of Final Determination of Less-Than-Fair-Value Investigation and Extension of Provisional Measures.  Decision to be released before Nov 13, 2017.

August 4, 2017:    Senate Finance Cmte:  Sen Wyden on Softwood Lumber Negotiations, "Real consultation is not telling us 5 minutes before somethings going to happen --- before a proposal is offered or an agreement is agreed to."

August 1, 2017:  Settlement stuck on 3rd country supply issues.

July 26, 2017:  Bipartisan letter from U.S. Senate Finance Committee urges negotiation of a quote resolution and demands consultation and briefing of the Senate.  

July 26, 2017:  BC Premier, Horgan supports quota resolution.

July 20, 2017: Canada's Request for Extension re: schedule for briefing and final determination on Softwood Lumber

July 13, 2017: ITC:  Scheduling for the Final Phase of ADCVD Investigations

June 30, 2017:

     - ITA: Preliminary Affirmative Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value: ADD
     - ITA: Decision memorandum: ADD

June 23, 2017:  Commerce: Preliminary Scope Issues Memorandum

June 7, 2017:  CBP:  Recommendation for Processing Entries Subject to the Canadian Softwood Lumber Countervailing Duty (CVD)

May 16, 2017: Gary Doer:  Representing Alberta in Softwood Dispute

April 28, 2017: Customs:  

     - SL IORs advised to use PSCs to correct for ADCVD.  
     - ITA: Preliminary Affirmative Determination: CVD

April 27, 2017: Fortune Article on SL Impact

April 26, 2017: Factsheet from BC

April 25, 2017:  Administration explains SL is part of its enforcement drive.

April 24, 2017: Canadian response to the rates imposed by Commerce.

April 23, 2017Commerce: Preliminary determination & Summary factsheet.

January 6, 2017: ITC notice:  ITC votes to continue investigation: 

November 30, 2016: Forbes: Tilting At Sawmills: America's Shameful Approach To The Softwood Lumber Dispute With Canada

November 25, 2016: The U.S. domestic industry files an ADD/CVD petition against Canadian softwood lumber imports into the United States.  "Critical circumstances" have been alleged under 19 U.S.C. sections 1671b(e) and 1673b(e) and that imports of cheap Canadian softwood lumber have increased by over 30%.   If the Department of Commerce finds critical circumstances, and the ITC confirms injury, then the ADD/CVD cases could be implemented retroactively (90 days) once the preliminary determination has been made.  Investigations: 701-TA-566 and 731-TA-1342 are now moving forward: News summary from the CBC.

November 18, 2016:  In related news, the Coalition for Fair Trade files a petition against imported Chinese Hardwood Plywood.

October 6, 2016:  Joel Junker presents to Canadian Lumber companies on Softwood Lumber Strategies cautioning that the filing of an ADD/CVD petition may be imminent.

October 4, 2016:  Joel Junker presents to AmCham Canada in Vancouver on strategies to consider should an ADD/CVD petition be filed.

September 22:  Joel Junker presents on ADD/CVD, and soft wood lumber issues to the Seattle Customs Brokers Association.

September 16, 2016:  Importer alert: Canadian softwood lumber ADD/CVD petitions may be filed after expiry of the SWL "cease fire" in October.

October 2015

Client Alert: The Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) expired in October 2015, and in the interests of reaching a negotiated resolution, the United States pledged to hold back from the institution of trade cases for a one year period.  Hence, if an agreement is not brokered between the governments by October 12, 2016, then the agreed "standstill " on legal action expires, and U.S. domestic companies will petition the U.S. Department of Commerce for the imposition of both anti-dumping duties (ADD) and countervailing duties (CVD) on exports of softwood lumber from Canada. The approaching October deadline has already been impacting the lumber markets as U.S. and Canadian importer realize that the imposition of new antidumping or countervailing duty (ADD/CVD) orders may hold significant financial repercussions for the industry.

September 16, 2016:  Cost to Americans?: $6 Billion...


Background on the Softwood Lumber Controversy 

The U.S. Government investigates and monitors the provision of subsidies by other countries through various means, including the enforcement of U.S. trade laws, participation at the World Trade Organization (WTO), the implementation of bilateral trade agreements, as well as public comment.  

Problems in the lumber trade trace back to the 1980's, when U.S. domestics complained that that federal and provincial governments in Canada were unfairly subsidizing Canadian producers.  As a result, AD/CVD orders were implemented in 2002 by the U.S. Department of Commerce in order to avoid pricing injury to the U.S. industry.  In 2006, those countries signed a second Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) which provided for the imposition of a complex scheme consisting of export taxes and quotas that vary depending on lumber prices.  The provincial governments were also to implement changes in the subsidy systems.  For it's part, the U.S. government terminated the AD/CVD Orders, and eventually provided a mechanism for the refund of approximately $4 billion U.S.D. in AD/CVD duties that had been collected.  

Online Reference Resources

  • Global Affairs Canada: Softwood Lumber Information

  • Random Lengths: Softwood Lumber Q&A


We represent importers of softwood lumber.

Contact a firm attorney at (415) 498-0070.

J&N Logo gold center 2017.jpg

Our customs lawyers are known nationally and internationally for their work in customs and international trade law. 

The firm's offices are located in San Francisco, California, Seattle, Washington, and Los Angeles, California.

Our practice areas include classification, valuation, admissibility, customs detentions, seizures and penalty proceedings, and customs audits.  We bring litigation, and handle numerous other types of issues arising in international trade. See our services listings.