Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests, has released the following statement in response to the binational North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Chapter 19 panel ruling on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s countervailing duty determination:

“For years, unfair U.S. duties on softwood lumber have harmed people on both sides of the border. Unwarranted softwood duties have negatively impacted the B.C. forestry sector, financially strained homebuilders, increased material costs for people, and hurt workers and their families in B.C.’s forestry communities.

“Today, a NAFTA panel has taken an important step in the right direction to correcting this by directing the U.S. Department of Commerce to review certain aspects of its determination. This decision is good news to communities and the tens of thousands of forestry workers throughout B.C., as well as American and Canadian families. The panel decision supports what the Province of British Columbia and Government of Canada have said from the start: These duties are unfair and unwarranted.

“Despite the good news that NAFTA has directed the U.S. Department of Commerce to correct errors that it made in its countervailing decision, this decision does not immediately put an end to U.S. countervailing duties on softwood lumber. The Province of British Columbia will continue to take action alongside the Government of Canada and our forestry industry to vigorously fight for the removal of U.S. duties.”

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