German softwood import up

Imports of softwood from Germany have grown tenfold in the first half of the year as punishing duties pushed imports of Canadian softwood down.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Paul Quinn says Canadian lumber producers have plunked down an estimated $500 million so far in countervailing and antidumping duties after the U.S. accused Canada of unfairly subsidizing its softwood industry in the spring.

Canada says it absolutely does not subsidize the industry, but cannot officially challenge the U.S. tariffs until after final decisions are made about the level of duties to be imposed some time this fall.

Jerry Howard, CEO of the National Home Builders Association in the United States, says the impact on the price of Canadian wood products has made European wood more competitive and Germany in particular was ready and waiting to jump into the void.

Howard says the U.S. cannot produce enough wood to meet demand and it has to come from somewhere.

That somewhere is proving to be Europe, with imports from Germany up 916 per cent in the first six months of the year compared with the same period last year.

Imports from Austria were up 178 per cent, Romania 141 per cent, Russia 42 per cent and Sweden 41 per cent.

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