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Canada’s lumber industry braces for WTO ruling

MONTREAL, Que. -- Canada's forestry industry is anxiously awaiting a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling expected...


MONTREAL, Que. — Canada’s forestry industry is anxiously awaiting a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling expected to come later today on the lumber tariff dispute with the U.S.

“It’s much more likely that Canada will win,” says Carl Grenier, general manager of the Montreal-based Free Trade Lumber Council. But either side can file an appeal, he adds.

The U.S. contends that Canada has been giving an unfair advantage to its lumber industry with low stumpage fees that allow Canadian firms to undercut their U.S. competitors.

It’s part of the allegations by American producers that low fees charged to cut Crown timber in Canada amount to a form of subsidies, especially in the major lumber-producing provinces of B.C., Quebec, Ontario and Alberta.

The 27 per cent rate was stepped up from the level imposed last August — 19 per cent — that is involved in the current WTO case.

That means $2.7 billion in duties are being taken out of Canada’s $10-billion softwood lumber industry.


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