May 31, 2017 / 8:59 PM / 2 years ago

Canada to give C$850 million in aid to firms hit by U.S. lumber tax

Piles of logs are moved in Squamish, British Columbia, Canada April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Ben Nelms

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Canadian government will give around C$850 million ($630 million) in aid to help the softwood lumber industry after the United States imposed duties on exports, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Most of the aid will be in the form of loans and loan guarantees, said the source, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. A formal announcement will be made on Thursday.

A spokesman said Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr could not confirm the size of the package. Carr is in charge of determining how best to help the industry.

The Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had already said it would help the industry in the wake of Washington’s move last month.

U.S. producers called for the duties, alleging Canadian exports are unfairly subsidized. Canada denies this is the case.

Ottawa struck back earlier this month, threatening to ban shipments of U.S. thermal coal from Pacific ports and suggesting sanctions against products from Oregon.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and David Gregorio

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