A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

US trade court rules for Canada in softwood lumber dispute

[JURIST] The US Court of International Trade [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Friday that the US must abide by a North American Free Trade Agreement [text] panel ruling that improper duties were levied on Canadian softwood lumber used in US housing construction jobs. The president of the British Columbia Lumber Trade Council [trade website], John Allan [profile], said $1.2 billion in duties collected by the US since November 2004 would need to be refunded as a result of the ruling. The court is still considering what action to take on the $3.4 billion in duties paid by Canada before November 2004.

The court's ruling is expected to have an effect on a softwood lumber trade agreement [PDF] that Canada and the US initialed [Canada PM press release] earlier this month, but which the Canadian lumber industry has been hesitant to approve. The 7-year deal intended to end the long-running softwood lumber dispute [CBC backgrounder] between the two countries would reimburse $4 billion to Canada but would allow US lumber producers to keep $1 billion. Canadian critics say their government was too lenient in drafting the deal and lumber industry members have specifically opposed a clause that would give the US the option to walk away and re-impose duties. Reuters has more.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.