U.S. slaps 10 percent duty on some Canada lumber imports

Tue Apr 7, 2009 3:17pm EDT
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By Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will slap a 10 percent duty on some imports of Canadian lumber after Ottawa failed to abide by a trade tribunal ruling, the U.S. Trade Representative said Tuesday.

The new tax in the long-running bilateral dispute between the world's two biggest trading partners comes amid growing concerns over nations around the world walling off their borders to protect jobs.

The U.S. economic downturn and collapse of the U.S. housing construction market has led to massive layoffs in both the U.S. and Canadian lumber industries.

"We regret that Canada has chosen not to meet its commitments and has made this action necessary," USTR Ron Kirk said in a release.

The duty will remain until the United States collects $54.8 million, the statement read.

"Current conditions ... only make it clearer that Canada needs to fulfill its obligations under the agreement and not continue to avoid the market consequences of its earlier

breach," Kirk said.

Canada was found in breach of its softwood lumber trade deal with the United States earlier this year, when the LCIA, formerly the London Court of International Arbitration, ruled Canada miscalculated quotas for some lumber exports for the first half of 2007.   Continued...