NAFTA panel flags tariffs for review

Mary Ng, the federal minister whose portfolio includes international trade and small business concerns, has welcomed the NAFTA dispute resolution panel’s latest finding on softwood lumber production. The arbitration process ended in a report calling on the U.S. Commerce Department to review its latest round of tariffs on Canadian softwood.

Ng announced in August that Canada would seek judicial review of the countervailing duties. At the time, U.S. trade rep Katherine Tai insisted that Canada would have to abolish its system of stumpage fees in order for any negotiations to take place. The U.S. has long held that rates are so advantageous to lumber producers as to constitute a federal subsidy, a position consistently rejected by international trade regulators.