US Softwood Lumber Duty 2017: Complete Confusion

Operators are suffering total bewilderment as US Customs and Border officials can not provide clarity on vital details of application of the new softwood lumber duties to entry waybills and pro-forma invoices.

An experienced US customs broker, a good source for Madison’s, upon finally speaking to decision-makers at the US Commerce Department last week about critical questions of definition and distinction, was told two manifestly contradictory things within one minute:

“The DOC conveyed Tuesday that “If an exporter who is not one of the’ve listed manufacturers, sources from any of these manufacturers, the exporter is to use the specific manufacturer’s Case Number and Rate”.

Wednesday they said there may have been some confusion – only in those instances where the remanner [lumber remanufacturer] sourced from one of the five specifically listed manufacturers and then sold and exported the wood direct to the U.S., would the manufacture’s specific case number and rate be allowed.

They conveyed that the whole issue of when a reman [remanufacturer] was involved with respect to case numbers and rates, had really yet to be officially decided.

What they’d just conveyed, contradicted what they said less than a minute before.

They said that we should wait to disseminate anything further regarding the applicable case number and rate to be used when remans were involved until they could discuss this further with the DOC Case.”

Wood destined for the US from Canadian sawmills two weeks ago is literally trapped at the border right now because operators and agents do not know how to fill out the Customs forms.This is quite outrageous, we don’t mind saying that out loud. How can a duty come into effect then a week later the responsible govern- ment agency still doesn’t know/won’t say what the terms are??