OTTAWA, Ont. — Canada claims it has won another victory in the ongoing softwood lumber dispute with the U.S., and is demanding the repayment of billions of dollars in duties.
A panel recently found that a recent NAFTA ruling in Canada’s favour does not violate free trade rules. Representatives from the Canadian lumber industry quickly said this should be the final straw that ends the softwood lumber dispute which has seen more than $5 billion in penalties shelled out by Canadian lumber companies.
The dispute has also limited the number of trucks hauling softwood lumber into the U.S. For its part, Washington has suggested the fight will continue. The U.S. lumber industry says Canadian producers are subsidized because they pay low fees to governments for timber.
”We are extremely pleased that the (panel) dismissed the claims of the United States,” Trade Minister Jim Peterson said in a statement. ”This is a binding decision that clearly eliminates the basis for U.S.-imposed duties on Canadian softwood lumber. We fully expect the United States to abide by this ruling, stop collecting duties and refund the duties collected over the past three years.”
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