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Import Assessment Exemption Proposed for Softwood Lumber

Monday, May 29, 2017
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service is accepting comments through July 31 on a proposed rule that would exempt entities importing or manufacturing less than 15 million board feet of softwood lumber products per year from paying assessments under the Softwood Lumber Research, Promotion, Consumer Education, and Industry Information Order.

Under this order assessments of $0.35 per thousand board feet are collected from importers and U.S. manufacturers and are used for projects that promote market growth for softwood lumber products used in single and multi-family dwellings as well as commercial construction. The purpose of the program is to strengthen the position of softwood lumber in the marketplace, maintain and expand markets for softwood lumber, and develop new uses for softwood lumber within the U.S.

AMS regulations already exempt entities importing or manufacturing less than 15 mmbf of softwood lumber products per year from these assessments. However, in 2016 a federal court ruled that the selection of this amount as the de minimis quantity was arbitrary and capricious and remanded the matter to AMS. Following a new analysis, AMS has determined that the 15 mmbf level is reasonable and appropriate.

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