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US to comply with NAFTA lumber ruling despite reservations

[JURIST] The US Commerce Department [official website] said on Tuesday that it will comply with a NAFTA ruling to reduce duties it placed on softwood lumber [CBC News backgrounder] from Canada although emphasizing its disagreement with the ruling. According to the department, duties on lumber will be reduced from 16 percent to slightly below 1 percent under the ruling, although the department said the change would have no practical effect. The duties have been a hotly contested issue between the US and Canadian lumber industries, with a US industry group recently challenging the NAFTA process [JURIST report]. The US has argued that Canada subsidizes its lumber industry because most timber is harvested from government lands, while US timber largely comes from private land. The WTO has previously ruled in favor of Canada [JURIST report] on the issue as well. The Department has a news release on its actions. CBC News has more.

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