Canada to challenge softwood duties under NAFTA

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OTTAWA, Ont. — After months of unsuccessful negotiations with the U.S. over its softwood lumber duties against Canadian wood, Canada says it will challenge the tariffs under NAFTA.

International Trade Minister, Pierre Pettigrew, made the announcement yesterday, and Canada filed a notice of intent requesting the establishment of a binding panel under Chapter 19 of NAFTA to review the fairness of the duty. A notice of intent is the first step in NAFTA proceedings.

“A durable solution to the softwood lumber dispute is our preferred approach,” Pettigrew told reporters yesterday. “However, we are taking action today to keep all options open as the discussions proceed. By triggering the panel selection process immediately, we are advancing the review of any U.S. findings of subsidy.”

Canada has successfully fought off U.S. tariffs by challenging them through the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the past. The upcoming NAFTA challenge does not preclude any future WTO challenges.

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