A delegation of Canadian politicians is in Washington this week to fight back against the United States’ doubling of softwood lumber tariffs.

Kenora MP Eric Melillo says Canada needs the delegation to be successful, after touching on the issue during an Emergency Debate at the House of Commons last week.

“The ongoing softwood lumber dispute continues to threaten our economy in northern Ontario and right across the country. Hundreds of thousands of jobs in Canada rely on this industry, and the government’s approach clearly isn’t working.”

Ontario ranks third with roughly 8,500 employees in the forestry and logging industries, only behind Quebec and British Columbia.

Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden and the Department of Commerce announced the U.S. will be hiking duty on Canadian softwood lumber to an average 17.9 per cent. The current rate for most companies is 8.99 per cent.

While most lumber producers will see a 17.9 per cent rate increase, in northwestern Ontario, Resolute Forest Products Inc. will see an increase of over 29 per cent.

The additional tariffs come as the U.S. believes it’s unfair that the Canadian lumber industry is subsidized by both the federal and provincial governments, so, the U.S. puts a tariff on all Canadian lumber to raise its price at the retail level, to encourage customers to buy American wood.

Still, Canada is one of the largest forestry exporters around the world. In 2019, Canada exported $8 billion worth of softwood lumber, and the U.S. remains the largest buyer of our lumber. It’s estimated that the U.S. produces about 70 per cent of the lumber they purchase annually, with the vast majority of the remainder coming from Canada.

The Canada-U.S. softwood lumber dispute has been ongoing since 1982 and is one of the most enduring trade disputes between the two nations.