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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 March, 2004, 07:44 GMT
Canada claims US timber victory
Timber
The two nations have long been at loggerheads over timber
The World Trade Organisation has ruled in favour of Canada in part of the country's long-running timber dispute with the neighbouring US.

A WTO panel has said that the US has failed to prove that imports of Canadian softwood lumber threaten to harm its own industry.

Canada has long called for the US to remove its import tariffs, but the US has insisted they remain.

America accuses its northern neighbour of unfairly subsidising production.

Canada strongly denies this.

Loggerheads

The dispute has been a long running sore between the two nations, who both have extensive timber industries.

The decision of the WTO's panel could now lead to it insisting that the two year old US tariffs be removed.

However, the matter is rather more complicated, and there are a number of other aspects that remain unresolved.

The WTO report said that the decision of the US International Trade Commission to impose tariffs "is not one which could have been reached by an objective and unbiased investigating authority".

Canada said it now expected the US to remove the tariffs.

'Vigorously enforce'

"This (the WTO judgement) means that the countervailing and anti-dumping duties are unjustified, and Canada expects the US to bring its measures in line with WTO obligations," said a spokeswoman for the Canadian trade ministry.

"Today's ruling goes quite a way to affirming that our exports do not injure the US industry," Carl Grenier, executive vice president of Canada's Free Trade Lumber Council, told the BBC's World Business Report.

Mr Grenier added that the effect of the US tariffs on Canada's timber industry had been "terrible."

However, it is less than likely that the US will grant Canada's wishes at this stage.

Richard Mills, a spokesman for the office of US Trade Representative said the WTO ruling "in no way affects the ability of the United States to continue to vigorously enforce trade remedy laws."




WATCH AND LISTEN
Carl Gernier, Free Trade Lumber Council
"We're price-takers in the US market."



SEE ALSO:
Canada claims timber victory
28 May 03  |  Business
Canada timber felled by crisis
26 Dec 01  |  Business


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