Trudeau vows Canada won’t back down in softwood dispute with US


Economy Industry Forestry lumber manufacturing softwood tariffs trade WTO

Duties imposed in 2017 claiming Canada's regulated forestry industry amounts to an unfair subsidy for producers.

Softwood logs in western Canada. Photo: iStockphoto

WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is vowing to keep up the fight against the never-ending effort in the United States to slap countervailing duties on Canadian softwood lumber exports.

The World Trade Organization last week ruled against the US, which imposed the duties in 2017 on the grounds that Canada’s regulated forestry industry amounts to an unfair subsidy for Canadian producers.

Trudeau says the US Department of Commerce is wrong to continue challenging the Canadian lumber industry, which he says results in higher construction costs on both sides of the border.

Construction, he says, will be a key factor in the efforts of both countries to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic – particularly in the US, where demand for lumber significantly outstrips the domestic supply.


US trade ambassador Robert Lighthizer calls the WTO decision an indictment of the organization’s much-maligned dispute resolution system, which he believes has long been biased against American interests.

The ruling was the latest irritant in Canada’s fraught trade relationship with the US, which just last month imposed new tariffs on Canadian aluminum exports in spite of the newly enacted US-Mexico-Canada Agreement.



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