2019 Annual Report
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The Softwood Lumber Dispute
Softwood lumber products exported from Canada to the United States have been determined to be dumped and subsidized and found to have injured the U.S. softwood lumber industry. The United States is currently imposing antidumping (“AD”) and countervailing duty (“CVD”) tariffs on softwood lumber products from Canada. These determinations are subject to challenge by the Government of Canada at the World Trade Organization and by interested parties before a bi-national dispute settlement panel composed under the North American Free Trade Agreement.
While these legal challenges are pending, softwood lumber products exported from certain producers qualify for certain exporter/producer-specific rates. These companies are West Fraser, Resolute FP, Tolko, Canfor, and J.D. Irving. All other exporters and producers of softwood lumber are subject to the “all others” rate of 14.09% for CVD and 6.04% for AD.
Exemption from Duties for Softwood Lumber Products Certified by the Atlantic Lumber Board
During the pendency of the litigation, the U.S. Department of Commerce determined that softwood lumber products certified by Atlantic Lumber Board (“ALB”) as being first produced in the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, or Prince Edward Island from logs harvested in these three provinces should be excluded from the AD and CVD tariffs. ALB’s Certificate of Origin program became a necessary precondition for exclusion from AD and CVD tariffs imposed on softwood lumber products imported into the United States.
Commerce has instructed that ALB-certified lumber will be exempt from all tariffs beginning on November 8, 2017 for AD tariffs and effective December 29, 2017 for CVD tariffs. Refunds for any payments of estimated duties during the pendency of the litigation need to be processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection individually and will take time and coordination with your customs broker. Refunds may be provided for AD/CVD cash deposits paid on entries between January 28, 2017 and August 25, 2017 (for CVD cash deposits) or after April 1, 2017 (for AD cash deposits), if those entries were accompanied by an ALB Certificate of Origin.
Qualifying for the Exclusion and Duty-Free Treatment
- Become a “User” of the Certificate of Origin Program
First, you must register as a “user” of the Certificate of Origin program to obtain ALB Certificates. To become a “user,” you must register with ALB by sending an email to email@example.com and complete the required paperwork to obtain log-in information and receive training to use the Certificate of Origin software. A “user” of the Certificate of Origin program does not need to be a “member” or “director” of ALB.
Primary sawmills in the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island who wish to use the Certificate of Origin software must pay an initial contribution when they register to use the Certificate of Origin program. The following schedule has been adopted by the ALB membership:
- Producers of >25 million BF in 2017: $5,000
- Producers of 5-25 million BF in 2017: $2,500
- Producers < 5 million BF in 2017: $1,000
Fees will also be payable upon the issuance of certificates of origin. The fee will be assessed on a $/BF basis on the primary sawmill generating the certificate. The actual amount shall be set by the Board of Directors, and be adjusted from time to time to ensure that it is adequate to cover ALB costs.
Second, to qualify for the exclusion, for each entry, you or your customs broker must (1) file an ALB Certificate of Origin and (2) identify the ALB Certificate number on each CBP Form 7501.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has released preliminary instructions (CSMS# 17-000753) on how to file the ALB Certificate of Origin and the ALB Certificate number:
- Transmit the ALB Certificate via the Digital Imaging System (DIS) (ACE DIS Implementation Guide). Until such time that a specific ALB Certificate code is available, please use the CBP03 “Other” code and also provide the government agency code “ECO”, for the Department of Commerce, Enforcement and Compliance.
- The ALB Certificate number will be entered on the entry summary (AE) record identifier 52 (input) in the miscellaneous permit/license number field, using permit code indicator 11. Transmit the ALB certificate number without any dashes (i.e. 12-345-678 = 12345678). Follow the ACE ABI CATAIR formatting instructions for submitting a 52-record data element.
- Importers of softwood lumber from Canada who do not submit the ALB certificate number should continue to submit the dummy SLA 2006 permit number “P88888888” under permit code indicator 11 as specified in CSMS #15-000744 issued October 6, 2015. Importers who submit the ALB Certificate number should not submit the dummy SLA 2006 permit number.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection reserves the right to change these instructions as it implements the exclusion on a case-by-case basis.
Qualifying Softwood Lumber Products
The only logs eligible for the ALB exclusion at this time are logs originated in the provinces of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland & Labrador, or Prince Edward Island. Therefore, in order to ensure the integrity of the ALB exclusion and prevent the certification of lumber that is not produced from logs originated in one of the three qualifying provinces, primary sawmills that use logs in their production that are non-originating in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland & Labrador, or Prince Edward Island must develop a system to segregate logs originated in one of the three qualifying provinces from logs originated elsewhere. Failure to administer effective controls and recordkeeping to the satisfaction of ALB shall render a primary sawmill ineligible to generate ALB Certificates of Origin.