U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken reacted last week to the news that the U.S. Commerce Department made preliminary determinations and could impose tariffs on softwood lumber coming to the U.S. from Canada.

Franken called new trade penalties slapped on Canadian softwood lumber imports a major victory for Minnesota workers and their families.

For nearly a year, Franken has been pressing the federal government to take this action, which he calls an important first step to help improve the demand for Minnesota-sourced timber.

The new duties, ranging from 3 to 24 percent, are welcome news for an industry that has been dogged by subsidized foreign lumber flooding American markets, he said in a statement.

“I’ve heard from lumber producers and sawmills across Minnesota that are struggling to get by, and I believe they deserve a fair shot,” said Franken. “They deserve a government that will stand up for them when foreign companies engage in illegal trade practices. That’s why I’ve long called on the federal government to crack down on the subsidized Canadian softwood lumber that’s flooding across our border and putting Minnesota workers out of jobs. I’m glad the Department of Commerce has recognized this as a major problem and that they’ve taken the initial step of levying new tariffs on these unfair imports.”

Klobuchar, co-chair of the Canada-United States InterParliamentary Group, said the determinations are positive.

“New tariffs could bring welcome relief to workers, producers, and rural communities in Minnesota and across the country that have been hurt by unfairly traded softwood lumber," she said in a statement. "We should keep working to negotiate a long-term softwood lumber agreement with Canada that protects American timber jobs.”

Last October, Klobuchar and a bipartisan group of senators called for any new softwood lumber agreement with Canada to protect U.S. timber jobs and communities. Last July, Klobuchar and a bipartisan group of senators urged the U.S. Trade Representative to negotiate an agreement that fully addresses the harmful effects of subsidized Canadian lumber in the U.S. market and to fully enforce U.S. trade laws against unfairly traded imports, including softwood lumber.