Softwood lumber is pictured at Tolko Industries in Heffley Creek, B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

U.S. can’t show harm from Canadian softwood industry, NAFTA panel says

U.S. had argued Canada unfairly subsidizes its softwood producers in imposing latest import duties

A joint NAFTA panel has given the United States three months to rethink its tariffs on imports of Canadian softwood lumber.

The five-member panel of Canadian and American representatives says there is no evidence that Canada’s softwood industry has harmed United States softwood producers.

The most recent softwood agreement between the two countries expired in the middle of the last federal election.

Eighteen months later, the U.S. imposed a new round of import duties, arguing Canada unfairly subsidizes its softwood producers by underpricing lumber cut on government-owned land.

Canada has filed complaints under both NAFTA and World Trade Organization rules.

RELATED: 150 workers laid off with Tolko mill closure in Quesnel

ALSO READ: Interfor closing B.C.’s historic Hammond Cedar sawmill

The Canadian industry is struggling with numerous mill closures and layoffs amid the tariffs, depressed prices from lower international demand and supply issues in Canada related to forest fires and pest infestations.

The Canadian Press

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