Richard Garneau, CEO of Canada-based Resolute Forest Products, believes Canada "deserves free and unencumbered access to the U.S. market" for the softwood lumber trade and wants to convince the U.S. of the same idea, Ross Marowits writes for the Montreal Gazette. The U.S. is still conducting its investigation into Canadian practices to see if the softwood lumber trade is unfair.

The four largest lumber producers in Canada have been required by U.S. investigators to fill out a questionnaire about their softwood lumber practices by the end of February. Once those questionnaires are submitted, a U.S. official will conduct a follow-up visit with each company.

Marowits writes:

The U.S. Commerce Department is expected to take the information into account when it decides on the imposition of preliminary duties on Canadian lumber imports in late April or early May.

Duties on the four producers will be based on their responses. Other Canadian producers will be subject to rates that are the average of those polled, said Garneau.

It marks a departure from past disputes when the rate of countervailing duties was determined after polling provinces to create a countrywide rate, said Susan Yurkovich, president of the BC Lumber Trade Council, which represents Western producers.

"It's just a different way of doing an evaluation," she said from Vancouver, adding that the four companies could face varying duties.

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