On Monday, August 24th, 2020, a three-person panel of the World Trade Organization (WTO) released its latest report finding in favor of the Canadian softwood lumber industry.
It determined that the U.S. duties on Canadian softwood lumber exports to counter what is saw as unfair subsidies failed to show that many of the prices paid by Canadian firms for timber on government-owned lands were too low.
According to the WTO report, the US Department of Commerce (USDOC) repeatedly failed to provide evidence or reasoning for its decisions, and, in most instances, available evidence was expressly contrary to the USDOC’s analysis and conclusions. In response, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, criticized the WTO panel report that applies an erroneous Appellate Body interpretation and would shield Canada’s lumber subsidies from U.S. action imposing countervailing duties to support the U.S. softwood lumber industry and its workers.
Lighthizer went onto say “This flawed report confirms what the United States has been saying for years: the WTO dispute settlement system is being used to shield non-market practices and harm U.S. interests. The panel’s findings would prevent the United States from taking legitimate action in response to Canada’s pervasive subsidies for its softwood lumber industry.”