Ottawa to challenge US softwood lumber tariffs

Ottawa has warned the White House that Canada will officially challenge the legality of the US decision to increase tariffs on softwood lumber imports.

The Canadian government, which calls these rights “unjustified”, will challenge the decision under the new North American free trade agreement.

Federal International Trade Minister Mary Ng said in a statement Tuesday that she expected Canada to win again, as has “invariably” been the case in previous challenges in the same old. dispute between the two neighbors and business partners.

Minister Ng adds that these rights not only hurt Canadian communities, businesses and workers, but “are also a tax on American consumers, increasing the costs of housing, renovations and rents.”

On November 24, the US government nearly doubled tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber. The American industry has long maintained that its competitors in Canada are helped by governments, especially on stumpage rights.

Liberals have been criticized by opposition parties for failing to prevent this new round of tariffs, as many expected trade disputes to dissipate with Joe Biden’s arrival at the White House , after the unpredictable Donald Trump.

The Canadian government had suggested that it was prepared to impose countervailing measures or take a more formal position by challenging these rights under the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA).

Minister Ng noted that Canada had “repeatedly communicated to the United States that it was ready to work for a negotiated solution to this long-standing trade problem.” But in the absence of any movement from the Americans, Ottawa decided to take the route of a trade challenge under the CUSMA.

As part of this challenge, “binational panels” will be created to determine whether the tariff rates have been established in accordance with US law.

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