U.S. to impose 20 percent duties on Canadian softwood lumber: Ross

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross holds a news conference to make an announcement, after a background conference call with Commerce, Justice Department and Treasury Department officials at the Department of Commerce in Washington, U.S., March 7, 2017. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Monday his agency will impose new anti-subsidy duties averaging 20 percent on Canadian softwood lumber imports, a move that escalates long-running trade dispute between the two countries.

"There are several different layers of duty each for a different company, but it averages 20 percent," Ross told Reuters by telephone. "It affects $5 billion worth of lumber coming in from Canada. It's about 31.5 percent of the total U.S. market, so it's a pretty big deal in terms of the Canadian relationship."

(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Sandra Maler)