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Canada to fight 'unfair' U.S. lumber duties, appeal WTO ruling

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Christian Fernsby |
Chrystia Freeland
Canada   Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland

Canada will appeal last week's decision by a World Trade Organization (WTO) panel to allow the United States to use "zeroing" to calculate lumber anti-dumping tariffs, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Monday.

"We firmly believe that the U.S. duties on Canadian softwood lumber are unfair and unwarranted," Freeland said in a statement. "That is why we are challenging these duties at the WTO and under NAFTA."

Trade tensions between the United States and Canada are heating up again after the two countries together with Mexico agreed on a free-trade deal to replace NAFTA last year.

The United States had suffered a string of defeats at the WTO over zeroing, a calculation method that previously was ruled to have unfairly increased the level of U.S. anti-dumping duties.

Zeroing calculates tariffs based on whether the domestic price of a product exceeds its U.S. import price after it is adjusted for transportation and handling costs.

The repeated rejection of zeroing by the WTO had helped fuel U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign to reform the WTO, where the United States is blocking appointments of the organization's Appellate Body, which is effectively the world's supreme court for trade disputes.

Trump said last year the United States could withdraw from the WTO if "they don't shape up."

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