WASHINGTON: The US administration announced anti-dumping duties Tuesday on imports of one kind of paper from Canada, further straining tense trade relations.
At issue is what is called uncoated groundwood paper, used in newsprint. US imports of it from Canada totaled $1.27 billion in 2016, the Commerce Department said.
The Americans argue that the Canadian paper has been sold in the country at less than its fair value.
The duties are preliminary pending more investigation and a final decision in August.
For now, US importers of this product will have to pay cash deposits equivalent to 22.16 percent of the price of what they bring in from Canada.
The decision follows a complaint filed by a US firm, North Pacific Paper Company.
The United States is Canada's biggest trading partner and vice versa but relations have grown tense since Donald Trump came to power in January of last year.
He has forced a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, arguing that it was a bad deal for the US.
Last week Trump gave Canada and Mexico a temporary exemption from new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. But he said the tariffs would in fact be imposed if the NAFTA talks did not yield a deal that satisfied him.
"Enforcement of US trade law is a prime focus of the Trump administration," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.
"From January 20, 2017, through March 13, 2018, the Commerce Department has initiated 102 antidumping and countervailing duty investigations – a 96 percent increase from the same period in 2016-2017," he added.
This kind of paper was already hit by preliminary US countervailing duties announced in January.
Canada's government said it was "disappointed" by the new US measure.
"Any duties will have a direct and negative impact on US newspapers, especially those in small cities and towns, and result in job losses in the American printing sector," the foreign minister and minister of natural resources said in a statement.
The US announcement came as Canada's foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, was in Washington to discuss bilateral trade relations.