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Canada going to the wall over wood war

MONTREAL, Que. - Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew insists Canada is willing to meet the U.S. in court if Washington is not willing to drop its duties on softwood lumber exports.Pettigrew said legal act...


MONTREAL, Que. – Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew insists Canada is willing to meet the U.S. in court if Washington is not willing to drop its duties on softwood lumber exports.

Pettigrew said legal action will become an option if the U.S. imposes an expected 19.3 per cent countervailing duty on softwood exports, along with an anti-dumping tariff, in March.

“If bilateral talks don’t produce the results we hope for, we reserve the right to take all the legal means possible,” says Pettigrew, reiterating a position he stated last fall.

“There’s NAFTA and U.S. courts. Canada has already won (previous disputes) before U.S. courts.”

The Americans contend Canadian softwood is subsidized through low provincial stumpage fees – the royalty charged on Crown timber.

The dispute is being heard before a World Trade Organization panel appointed in December, but Pettigrew accused the U.S. on Wednesday of stalling the selection of panel members.

Pettigrew has asked the WTO’s director general to intervene directly and appoint the panel members and charges the U.S. is stalling the process because it knows its case is weak.


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