REUTERS: Canada Opens WTO Case Against United States Over Lumber Duties




November 29, 2017 | By: DAVID LJUNGGREN & DAVID LAWDER –   

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada on Tuesday formally opened a case against the United States at the World Trade Organization over a recent Commerce Department decision to impose duties on Canadian lumber exports, the foreign ministry said.

A ministry statement said Canada would forcefully defend the lumber industry against the “unfair, unwarranted and deeply troubling” decision.

Earlier this month Canada launched a NAFTA trade challenge against duties affecting about $5.66 billion worth of U.S. lumber imports.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is confident the Department of Commerce’s actions “fully comply” with WTO rules, said USTR spokeswoman Amelia Breinig, in a statement.

In any case, Canada’s decision to open a case with the WTO is premature, she said, since final duties are not yet in place, pending a decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission on whether imports of Canadian lumber have harmed U.S. producers.

That decision is expected in December.

The U.S. Commerce Department accuses Canada of unfairly subsidizing and dumping softwood lumber, which is commonly used in the construction of homes. Canada denies it is dumping the lumber.

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