Commerce secretary defends Canadian lumber tariff

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross took questions from reporters asking about the recently announced 20 percent tariff the Trump administration plans to impose on Canadian softwood imports.

The U.S. imports about $5 billion worth of softwood lumber a year—most of it goes to framing single-family homes.

The Trump administration feels the Canadian lumber industry receives government subsidies that give it an unfair edge over U.S. suppliers.

“They are a close ally, they are an important ally,” Ross said of Canada. “That doesn’t mean they don’t have to play by the rules.”

The lumber tariff follows a dispute over Canada’s new dairy pricing policies, which the United States said will make U.S. imports uncompetitive.

Canada angered U.S. dairy producers by imposing new rules on a very tight deadline, leaving farmers without customers for a very perishable product.