WASHINGTON, April 13 (UPI) -- Both Canadian and U.S. softwood companies hailed a World Trade Organization decision Thursday about U.S. duties on Canadian imports.
The WTO's appellate body rejected Canada's request to find that the U.S. International Trade Commission erred in ruling that U.S. lumber producers are threatened with material injury by imports of dumped and subsidized softwood lumber from Canada. However, the trade organization also overturned a previous WTO compliance panel decision in the same case that had gone against Canada.
At issue is about $5 billion in duties collected by U.S. officials on imports of Canadian softwood because, allegedly, such imports are subsidized by Ottawa. While mediators in a North America Free Trade Agreement panel have sided with Canada, the International Trade Commission has sided with the United States.
Both sides claimed simultaneous victories.
"This once again reinforces that NAFTA panels are the odd men out in this dispute," said a U.S. lumber industry group.
But from Vancouver came a rather different response: "This decision is a vindication for Canada and wipes the slate clean of a decision Canada profoundly disagreed with," said John Allan, president of the BC Lumber Trade Council.