The U.S. and Canada are locked in a dispute over softwood lumber, the latest entanglement in one of the thorniest commerce spats between the world’s two largest trading partners. The U.S. escalated the row by slapping tariffs of up to 24.1 percent on Canadian lumber, saying the government provides unfair subsidies to producers. If history is any guide, consumers will be paying more for wood.
The U.S. lumber industry alleges Canadian wood is heavily subsidized and that imports are harming American mills and workers. Canadians argue the U.S. depends on its lumber for home construction and won’t be able to meet demand without its neighbor to the north. It’s a rift that goes back decades.