Canada says U.S. softwood complaint unjustified

Fri Oct 8, 2010 3:22pm EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada on Friday criticized the United States for seeking consultations over the alleged abuse of a bilateral softwood lumber deal, saying Washington was relying on unfounded allegations of wrongdoing.

"I am disappointed that the United States has rejected cooperative dialogue on this matter in favor of formal dispute settlement. There is no justification for arbitration, and Canada will make this point forcefully in consultations," Trade Minister Peter Van Loan said in a statement.

The United States Trade Representative's office said it appeared the province of British Colombia was selling timber at an unfairly low price. Van Loan said the pricing system in question no longer existed and added: "Regrettably, the United States decided to rely on unfounded allegations."

(Reporting by David Ljunggren)