WTO panel finds U.S. duties on Canadian lumber are non-compliant
A panel from the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled this week that U.S. countervailing duties imposed on Canadian softwood lumber are inconsistent with the WTO obligations of the United States.
Canada’s Minister of International Trade, Mary Ng, said in a statement: “Canada remains unequivocal: U.S. duties on Canadian softwood lumber are completely unwarranted and unfair. This decision confirms that. Canada does not subsidize its softwood lumber industry, and that is why we have challenged these U.S. duties at the WTO and under the former North American Free Trade Agreement.”
“Canada expects the United States to comply with its WTO obligations. U.S. duties on Canadian softwood lumber must not persist.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer criticized the WTO’s panel report, saying it “applies an erroneous Appellate Body interpretation and would shield Canada’s massive lumber subsidies from U.S. action imposing countervailing duties to support the U.S. softwood lumber industry and its workers.
“This flawed report confirms what the United States has been saying for years: the WTO dispute settlement system is being used to shield non-market practices and harm U.S. interests,” said Lighthizer. “The panel’s findings would prevent the United States from taking legitimate action in response to Canada’s pervasive subsidies for its softwood lumber industry.”
According to a USTR statement: “The United States is presently evaluating options in response to the panel report.”