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Canada Pounces On NAFTA Ruling

Bruce Ralston, Canada Minister of Forests, released a statement in response to a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) panel ruling on Canada’s challenge of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s final dumping determination on softwood lumber:

“Workers in communities around the province rely on British Columbia’s forestry sector for jobs to support their families, livelihoods and communities. The federal and BC governments have been clear that the duties imposed by the United States on Canadian softwood lumber are unwarranted, punitive and are negatively impacting British Columbia’s forestry workers and communities.

“Today, a NAFTA panel determined that the U.S. Department of Commerce erred in how it calculated important aspects of the anti-dumping duties applied to Canadian softwood lumber exports. It is encouraging to see the NAFTA panel agree with the extensive evidence to support Canada’s claims, and direct the U.S. Department of Commerce to revisit key elements of its decision. Alongside the Government of Canada, we remain steadfastly committed to the view that all U.S. softwood lumber duties are unfounded.

“Time and again, neutral third-party reviews of the softwood lumber dispute have confirmed these duties are unjustified. While we continue to provide markets around the world with the highest-quality timber, U.S. duties are hurting people on both sides of our shared border, increasing material costs for Americans, and creating uncertainty for forestry professionals and communities here at home.”

Mary Ng, Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development, issued the following statement:

“Canada is pleased that the NAFTA dispute panel agrees that elements of the U.S. dumping determination are inconsistent with U.S. law. These duties are unwarranted—the only fair outcome is for the United States to revoke all duties on Canadian softwood lumber without further delay.

“The panel directed the U.S. Department of Commerce to review key aspects of its determination. Canada will continue to have an active voice during this process.
“For years, the United States has imposed unjust and illegal duties on Canadian softwood lumber, disrupting our deeply integrated supply chains. We will continue to advocate for Canadian softwood lumber workers and industry as we pursue other legal challenges of unjustifiable U.S. duties.”

In a related but separate venue, Canada previously announced it would appeal the U.S. Department of Commerce’s final results of the fourth annual review of the antidumping orders against unfairly traded lumber imports from Canada at the U.S. Court of International Trade.

“The Coalition has long believed that U.S. courts are the appropriate venue for resolving legal questions around the application of U.S. trade laws, and we are pleased that the Canadian parties have now agreed to pursue their claims before a U.S. judge,” says Andrew Miller, Chairman of the U.S. Lumber Coalition and CEO of Stimson Lumber.

“While the Coalition is continuing to evaluate its own issues for appeal, we look forward to defending the Department of Commerce’s antidumping determination as consistent with U.S. law.”

The U.S. Coalition said it remains open to a new U.S.- Canada softwood lumber trade agreement if and when Canada can demonstrate that it is serious about negotiations for an agreement that addresses Canada’s unfair trade practices which are harming U.S. producers, workers, and timberland holders. Until this happens, the U.S. Lumber Coalition fully supports the continued strong enforcement of the U.S. trade laws to address Canada’s unfair softwood lumber trade practices.

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