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The Trump administration will impose tariffs on Canadian exports of softwood lumber to the US after concluding that Canada subsidizes the industry in a way that is detrimental to the US.

Wilbur Ross, US commerce secretary, told the Financial Times that the US would impose tariffs ranging from 3 per cent to 24 per cent on five Canadian lumber exporters. The Canadian companies are Canfor, J.D. Irving, Resolute FP Canada, Tolko Marketing and Sales and West Fraser Mills.

The Trump administration has already notified Canada of its intent to impose the tariffs, which will be retroactively applied to cover the past 90 days.

The measure comes as Donald Trump approaches his 100th day in office on Saturday and marks another example of his intent to take a tougher approach on trade policy.

“This has been another long-standing dispute with Canada,” said Mr Ross. “These duties will be applied retroactively, 90 days backward, because they were on notice that this was forthcoming and they didn’t change the practice of dumping subsidized lumber.”

Mr Ross said the Canadian provinces that own the forests from where softwood lumber is sourced were subsidizing logging activities, which allowed Canada to then dump the lumber in the US at below-market prices.

“It is around $5bn a year worth of lumber that comes in this way. And the Canadians have roughly a 31.5 per cent market share of the whole US softwood lumber (market),” Mr Ross added.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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