WTO Delivers Mixed Ruling in U.S.-Canada Lumber Dispute



Bryce Baschuk | Bloomberg

  • Countries are also at odds over steel and aluminum tariffs
  •  U.S. and Canada have 60 days to appeal the WTO ruling

The World Trade Organization on Tuesday said the U.S. violated international trade rules in the way it calculated tariffs on Canadian imports of softwood lumber in a key dispute ruling published on the WTO website.

The decision also provided a boost to the U.S.’s use of a controversial methodology used when calculating anti-dumping duties on Canadian lumber. In the past, the WTO has struck down American use of the process, called zeroing, which typically results in higher duty margins. That part of the ruling is a victory for the U.S.

“The WTO rules do not prohibit ‘zeroing’,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement Tuesday, saying any previous WTO appellate body decisions that prohibit zeroing are erroneous and not binding. “The United States commends this panel for doing its own interpretive analysis, and for having the courage to stand up to the undue pressure that the appellate body has been putting on panels for many years.”

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