U.S. Given Until Next Week to Comply With Lumber Tariff Ruling
Nov. 16 (Bloomberg) -- A North American Free Trade Agreement panel today gave the U.S. until next week to comply with a ruling that would force the Bush administration to rework the tariffs it charges on $7.6 billion a year in timber imported from Canada.
The five-member panel denied a petition for clarification of a ruling for the Commerce Department to reconfigure what is now a 16.4 percent import duty used to compensate U.S. lumber companies for subsidies given to Canadian producers. The U.S. also has separate anti-dumping duty that averages 3.8 percent.
The U.S. pledged to respond by the new deadline of Nov. 23.
The Nafta panel had given the U.S. until Oct. 28 to recalculate its duties using a set of numbers and methodology different from what the U.S. had been using. The judges said the U.S. method of calculation led to distorted figures. In its response, the U.S. argued that the formula adopted by the Nafta panel would underreport the size of Canadian subsidies.
There has been growing diplomatic pressure from Canada on the U.S. to scrap the duties altogether, following a series of rulings by a separate Nafta panel that said the U.S. showed no just cause for implementing the duties to begin with.
Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin last month complained that the Bush administration is violating the spirit of Nafta by refusing to end the duties, which have been in place since 2002 and have cost Canadian exporters as much as $5 billion.
The U.S., which prevailed in a separate case at the World Trade Organization, has called for Canada to sit down and negotiate an agreement to end the tariffs; Martin has ruled out any new talks.
To contact the reporter on this story:
Mark Drajem in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
so there we have it no negotiations and a demand from the states