- The Washington Times - Monday, January 19, 2004

The United States yesterday and Friday won cases against Canadian lumber subsidies at the World Trade Organization, potentially helping the American cause during negotiations to settle the 20-year dispute.

“We are extremely pleased with the outcome in this appeal,” Richard Mills, spokesman for the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office, said of yesterday’s ruling.

“The WTO … upheld our determination that Canada’s practices amount to an unfair subsidy, and they agreed in the key respects with the way in which we administered our trade laws in response,” Mr. Mills said.

On Friday, a WTO panel ruled on another aspect of the long-running dispute, upholding duties on Canadian lumber, according to trade officials.

“Friday’s decision was a big win for the U.S.” said a U.S. trade official, who asked not to be named. The decision was not publicly released but the official, responding to press inquiries, confirmed the ruling.

Yesterday’s ruling is final; Friday’s may be appealed.

Canada said yesterday’s decision was not an all-out victory for the United States.

Both sides have been trying to negotiate a settlement, but as recently as last week Canada rejected a U.S. proposal to end the dispute.

“A negotiated settlement on this issue remains a top priority of the government of Canada. That is why we will continue to engage our American counterparts to find the best possible solution for Canadians and Americans,” James Peterson, Canada’s minister of international trade, said yesterday in a statement.

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