The U.S. International Trade Commission's made a final determination, in a 4-0 vote, that Canada subsidizes and dumps lumber exports into the United States, a move that is likely to increase already tense negotiations to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
On Nov. 28, the federal government announced that it Ottawa has requested World Trade Organization consultations with Washingto over anti-dumping and countervailing duties the U.S. Department of Commerce has set on softwood lumber imports from Canada.
Efforts to solve Canada's festering softwood lumber trade dispute with the United States suffered another blow Thursday after the U.S. To our knowledge, the ITC has never before reached an affirmative decision of injury when an industry was enjoying the most profitable period in its history, which is the case today for the USA lumber industry.
Although workers in the Canadian industry fear layoffs, so far that hasn't happened, says Joel Neuheimer, vice-president of worldwide trade and transportation for the Forest Products Association of Canada.
"We are confident that the ITC decision will be overturned", Yurkovich said.
In testimony this week before lawmakers, Canada's chief Nafta negotiator, Steve Verheul, said the softwood dispute between the US and Canada "will continue to be a hard issue" and said it is unlikely a solution will be incorporated in any renegotiated continental trade pact.
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The complaints led to the current duties imposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce last spring and verified in November. More than 95 percent comes from Canada. That move could redouble the determination of USA trade representative Robert Lighthizer, who has sought to eliminate the dispute-resolution system that allows the three countries to challenge each other's tariffs under Nafta's Chapter 19. The WTO process could take years.
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