Canada takes softwood lumber dispute with U.S. to NAFTA appeal panel

OTTAWA — Canada is turning to NAFTA in its bid to overturn U.S. duties on Canadian softwood lumber.

The federal government today filed a request to have a NAFTA dispute panel examine the countervailing duties the U.S. imposed on almost all softwood lumber imports from Canada earlier this year.

The initial duties were imposed last spring but it wasn’t until Nov. 2 that the U.S. Department of Commerce made a final decision about the amounts that would actually apply.

Most Canadian producers will pay almost 21 per cent in duties on any softwood exported to the U.S.

The U.S. alleges Canada unfairly subsidizes its softwood industry and sells wood in the United States at unfair rates, which Canada vigorously denies.

In the past, Canada has won when using NAFTA to challenge U.S. softwood duties.

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