The Wall Street Journal: Canada to challenge U.S. lumber tariffs through Nafta panel

OTTAWA — Canada on Tuesday said it intends to escalate its legal fight against the U.S. Commerce Department’s decision to slap tariffs of roughly 20% or more on Canadian lumber imports.

The Canadian government filed a notice to set up a dispute-resolution panel under the terms available through North American Free-Trade Agreement. These expert panels have the power to overturn or sustain tariffs imposed by the U.S., Canada or Mexico on goods from one of its Nafta partners.

The Trump administration wants to largely repeal the dispute-settlement system in talks to renegotiate Nafta, which restart later this week in Mexico. Canada has repeatedly said it won’t budge on its insistence the panel system remain in place, as they are a crucial tool Canadian firms use to fight what they deem unfair tariffs imposed by Commerce.

A spokesman for Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the U.S. decision to impose duties against Canadian lumber imports is “unfair, unwarranted and deeply troubling.” He added Canada “will forcefully defend” its lumber industry, including through litigation.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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