Vive Le Canada

U.S. delays orders to cut penalties on Canadian softwood
Date: Monday, October 31 2005
Topic:


October 28, 2005

U.S. delays orders to cut penalties on Canadian softwood

By SANDRA CORDON

OTTAWA (CP) - Washington says it needs more time to consider a NAFTA ruling that orders it to drastically cut some duties on Canadian softwood lumber exports.

Late Friday afternoon, the U.S. Department of Commerce said it needs clarification on the order that it essentially eliminate countervail duties that total more than 16 per cent on softwood exports. It's the fifth time the U.S. has been ordered to cut the duties.

Canadian government officials responded angrily to the latest delay, which sends a negative signal as to the prospects of the multibillion-dollar trade dispute ending soon.

"The U.S. has ignored an obvious opportunity to demonstrate good faith and-or indicate that they are prepared to live by the rules of NAFTA," the official said on background.


"We hope they will offer an indication of good faith very soon."

The panel, struck under the North American Free Trade Agreement, has repeatedly called on Washington to all but eliminate its crippling countervail duties.

But U.S. Commerce officials say they need more time to decide what to do.

"This administration is fully committed to NAFTA and to coming to a lasting agreement with Canada to resolve this dispute," U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said in a statement.

"The department has requested clarification because we have significant questions about the methodology applied by the NAFTA panel."

Trade Minister Jim Peterson said the delay only hurts American consumers who already "pay too much for their homes" because the dispute drives up lumber prices.

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