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Canada taking fight with U.S. over softwood lumber duties to WTO

The federal government is launching litigation via the World Trade Organization against over anti-dumping and countervailing duties the U.S. Department of Commerce has set on softwood lumber imports from Canada.

U.S. announced finalized duties in early November

Canada is seeking consultations with the U.S. under the WTO over duties on Canadian softwood lumber imports. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

The federal government is launching litigation via the World Trade Organization over anti-dumping and countervailing duties the U.S. Department of Commerce has set on softwood lumber imports from Canada.

"The U.S. Department of Commerce's decision to impose punitive anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Canadian softwood lumber producers is unfair, unwarranted and deeply troubling," according to a statement issued Tuesday by Global Affairs Canada.

The Canadian government said it has requested consultations with the U.S. under the WTO.

"We will forcefully defend Canada's softwood lumber industry," the government said in its statement.

Canada has already challenged the countervailing duties under Chapter 19 of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The U.S. government said on Nov. 2 that it made a final determination to impose duties on Canadian softwood imports, claiming producers here were selling into the U.S. market at less than fair value, and that Canada provides "unfair subsidies" to domestic producers.

U.S. government claimed that exporters from Canada sold softwood lumber in the U.S. market at 3.20 per cent to 8.89 per cent less than fair value. The Commerce Department also said Canada is providing unfair subsidies to its producers of softwood lumber at rates from 3.34 per cent to 18.19 per cent.