The U.S. International Trade Commission has ruled that the U.S. lumber industry is materially injured by imports of Canadian softwood lumber. The decision will trigger the application of countervailing and anti-dumping duties of about 20 per cent, announced by the U.S. Department of Commerce in early November.

The Canadian government had already initiated proceedings with the World Trade Organization regarding to the duties imposed the United States, and challenged the duties under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

While these legal measures are being pursued, Canadian exporters of softwood lumber to the United States, with the exception of lumber originating in certain Atlantic provinces, will be subject to punitive duties, ranging from about 10 to 24 per cent.

The ITC voted 4-0 in favor of the U.S. lumber industry. The ITC ruling follows a U.S. Department of Commerce determination that imports of softwood lumber from Canada are sold in the United States at less than fair value and subsidized by the government of Canada.