U.S. Trade Body Complies With NAFTA Order On U.S.-Canadian Lumber Dispute

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) grudgingly complied with a NAFTA trade ruling Sept. 10 and issued a statement saying that the U.S. lumber industry is not threatened by Canadian softwood imports. The quasi-judicial U.S. trade body voted in favor of the determination by five to one, responding to an order issued Aug. 31 by the United States-Canada Binational Panel in Softwood Lumber. "Because the Commission respects and is bound by the NAFTA dispute settlement process, we issue a determination, consistent with the Panel's decision, that the U.S. softwood lumber industry is not threatened with material injury by reason of subject imports from Canada," a statement said. "In so doing, we disagree with the Panel's view that there is no substantial evidence to support a finding of threat of material injury and we continue to view the Panel's decisions throughout this proceeding as overstepping its authority, violating the NAFTA, seriously departing from fundamental rules of procedure, and committing legal error," the statement said. The 20-year-old U.S.-Canada softwood dispute reemerged in 2001 after the expiration of a trade deal. A U.S. anti-dumping investigation resulted in Washington imposing duties ranging from 2.18% to 12.44% on Canadian softwood products in April 2002.

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