WTO reverses course on U.S. softwood tariffs

GENEVA ― A World Trade Organization ruling gave a partial victory this week to the U.S. in the softwood lumber dispute, allowing the use of “zeroing” in the calculation of tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber. While the decision found that the U.S. broke trade laws in its calculation of tariffs, it broke with previous rulings which had held the controversial methodology unlawful. Zeroing entails the exclusion of any negative difference between the foreign domestic price of a product and its U.S. import price, which critics say artificially inflates anti-dumping duties. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland expressed concern about this departure from precedent. “This is a practice which in past rulings has often been condemned, and we are now looking at next steps which Canada can take to challenge this, including possibly an appeal,” she said.