Trade

The Alberta government is committed to honouring Alberta's domestic and international trade obligations, and actively engaged in ongoing trade related negotiations related to natural resources.

United States – Canada Softwood Lumber Trade Dispute

The United States (U.S.) is Alberta's largest market for softwood lumber products. Given the importance of the forest products sector to Alberta's economy, stable U.S. market access is essential.

The 2006 Canada–U.S. Softwood Lumber Agreement expired on October 12, 2015, ending a 9-year period of managed trade. On November 25, 2016, a group of U.S. lumber companies and associations filed petitions with the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) and the U.S. International Trade Commission requesting the initiation of countervailing, anti-dumping and injury investigations into the import of certain softwood lumber products from Canada.

The U.S. DOC, in its countervailing duty (CVD) investigations, examines whether manufacturers, producers, and/or exporters of softwood lumber from Canada receive countervailable subsidies (i.e., provision of timber at less than adequate remuneration and/or benefits from assistance programs) from the Government of Canada and/or the governments of certain Canadian provinces, as alleged by the Petitioner. Respondent companies, the federal government and implicated provinces and territories are required to respond to DOC questionnaires.

In anti-dumping duty (AD) investigations, the DOC examines Petitioner allegations of dumping (i.e., selling lumber in the U.S. market for prices lower than the price sold in the exporters’ domestic market). Respondent companies are required to respond to DOC questionnaires.

The DOC selected West Fraser, Resolute, Canfor and Tolko as mandatory respondents in its CVD and AD investigations, and also selected JD Irving, Ltd. as a voluntary respondent in its CVD investigation.

The International Trade Commission issued its affirmative determination of injury on December 28, 2017. Cash deposit instructions were issued on January 3, 2018 with final CVD and AD orders.

Published Final Investigation CVD and AD Rates:

Company CVD AD Total
Canfor 13.24% 7.28% 20.52%
JD Irving 3.34% 6.04% 9.38%
Resolute 14.70% 3.20% 17.90%
Tolko 14.85% 7.22% 22.07%
West Fraser 17.99% 5.57% 23.56%
All Others 14.19% 6.04% 20.23%

The duty rates apply to all non-exempt Canadian companies exporting subject merchandise to the U.S.

The results of the initial investigation are being challenged under the North American Free Trade Agreement and World Trade Organization appeal processes. While appeals are pending, liquidation of entries are suspended and refunds for entries made during the periods of review will not be issued.

Each year, during the anniversary month of the publication of a CVD or AD order, an interested party may request that the DOC conduct an administrative review of the order. The outcome of each review updates the actual weighted-average margin and duty assessments for shipments during the period of review and the future cash deposit rate until the next administrative review. Only those companies that are selected as mandatory or voluntary respondents, or that request an administrative review will be subject to the updated duty rates.

First Administrative Review

The DOC selected West Fraser, Resolute and Canfor as mandatory respondents in the first Administrative Review (AR1) of its CVD and AD orders, and also selected JD Irving, Ltd. as a voluntary respondent in its CVD review. An additional six companies that operate in Alberta also formally requested reviews as part of AR1.

The period of review for AR1 is April 28, 2017 to December 31, 2018 for the CVD order and June 30, 2017 to December 31, 2018 for the AD order.

Cash deposit instructions were issued on December 1, 2020 and November 30, 2020 with AR1 final CVD and AD orders, respectively.

Published Final AR1 CVD and AD Rates:

Company Assessment Rate (2017) Cash Deposit Rate (2018)
  CVD AD Total AV AD Total
Canfor 2.94% 1.99% 4.93% 2.63% 1.99% 4.62%
JD Irving 3.43% 1.57% 5.00% 2.66% 1.57% 4.23%
Resolute 18.71% 1.15% 19.86% 19.10% 1.15% 20.25%
West Fraser 6.76% 1.40% 8.16% 7.57% 1.40% 8.97%
All others 7.26% 1.57% 8.83% 7.42% 1.57% 8.99%

Only those companies participating in AR1 are subject to the lesser retroactive duties owed on lumber exported between April 2017 and December 2018, and lesser cash deposit rates assessed on future exports.

The results of AR1 are being appealed under the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). While appeals are pending, liquidation of entries are suspended, and refunds for entries made during the periods of review will not be issued.

Second Administrative Review

The DOC selected West Fraser, Resolute and Canfor as mandatory respondents and JD Irving, Ltd. as a voluntary respondent in the second Administrative Review (AR2) of its CVD order. Only Canfor and West Fraser were selected as mandatory respondents for the AD order review. An additional seven companies that operate in Alberta also formally requested reviews as part of AR2.

The period of review for AR2 is January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019 for CVD and AD orders.

Cash deposit instructions were issued on December 2, 2021 with final AR2 CVD and AD orders. Ministerial errors included in final AR2 CVD orders were subsequently corrected and published on January 10, 2022.

Published Final AR2 CVD and AD Rates:

Company Assessment/Cash Deposit Rate (2019)
  CVD AD Total
Canfor 2.42% 17.12% 19.54%
JD Irving 3.46% 11.59% 15.05%
Resolute 18.07% 11.59% 29.66%
West Fraser 5.08% 6.06% 11.14%
All others 6.32% 11.59% 17.91%

Only those companies participating in AR2 will be subject to the increased retroactive duties owed on lumber exported between January 2019 to December 2019, and the increased cash deposit rates assessed on future exports.

The results of AR2 are being appealed under CUSMA. While appeals are pending, liquidation of entries are suspended and refunds for entries made during the periods of review will not be issued.

Third Administrative Review

The DOC Resolute and Canfor as mandatory respondents and JD Irving, Ltd. as a voluntary respondent in the third Administrative Review (AR3) of its CVD order. Only Canfor and West Fraser were selected as mandatory respondents for the AD order review. An additional eight companies that operate in Alberta also formally requested reviews as part of AR3.

The period of review for AR3 is January 1 to December 31, 2020.

Cash deposit instructions were issued on August 9, 2022, with final AR3 CVD and AD orders.

Published Final AR3 CVD and AD Rates:

Company Assessment/Cash Deposit Rate (2020)
  CVD AD Total
Canfor 0.95% 4.92% 5.87%
JD Irving 2.41% 11.59% 14.00%
Resolute 10.10% 4.76% 14.86%
West Fraser 3.62% 4.63% 8.25%
All others 3.83% 4.76% 8.59%

If the results of AR3 are appealed under CUSMA, liquidation of entries will likely be suspended for the companies included in that request and the U.S. would not be expected to issue refunds or invoices for retroactive entry adjustments until appeal processes are complete.

Fourth Administrative Review

The DOC selected West Fraser and Canfor as mandatory respondents in the fourth Administrative Review (AR4) of its CVD and AD orders. An additional eight companies that operate in Alberta also formally requested reviews as part of AR4.

The period of review for AR4 is January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021.

Preliminary results of AR4 are anticipated by the end of January 2023.

Global Affairs Canada is continually updating its Frequently Asked Questions - Softwood Lumber page. Please bookmark and visit for updated information and recent announcements related to softwood lumber litigation.

Industry stakeholders can direct inquiries to the Softwood Lumber Division of Global Affairs Canada at [email protected].

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