“The US Department of Commerce is indicating with these preliminary results that it intends to maintain its unjustified duties on imports of Canadian softwood lumber,” Ng said in a statement. “They are a tax on American consumers and reduce the affordability of housing for American homebuyers at a time when housing prices are already at record highs.”

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Observers predicted that due to this latest move, producers like Canfor Corp. will see combined duty rates fall from nearly 20% to 6.75%, and Resolute Forest Products Inc. will see its duties drop from nearly 30% to just 20%. On the other hand, West Fraser Timber Co. will likely see its rates rise from 11% to 13%.

British Columbia’s Lumber Trade Council said that until the final rates are released around August, Canadian producers will continue to pay average rates of 18%.

“We continue to hope that the US industry will put an end to this decades-long litigation and instead work with us to meet demand for the low carbon wood products the world wants,” said Susan Yurkovich, CEO of the BC Lumber Trade Council.