Canada hints at WTO, lum­ber trade off


The Cana­dian gov­ern­ment has sug­gested it might drop its ma­jor in­ter­na­tional trade case against the U.S., if it gets a soft­wood lum­ber deal.

Canada has filed a wide-rang­ing com­plaint to the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion about the way the U.S. ap­plies puni­tive tar­iffs, in­fu­ri­at­ing the Amer­i­cans.

U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer called it a “mas­sive at­tack” on the Amer­i­can sys­tem of in­ter­na­tional trade.

“If it were suc­cess­ful, it would lead to more Chi­nese im­ports into the United States and likely fewer Cana­dian goods be­ing sold in our mar­ket,” he said Mon­day at the end of NAFTA talks in Mon­treal

For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Chrys­tia Free­land said the case is di­rectly tied to soft­wood lum­ber, where the U.S. im­posed du­ties.

“We are aware that the U.S. is con­cerned by our lit­i­ga­tion. And to those con­cerns, I have a very clear re­sponse and a clear of­fer, which is: let’s sit down and let’s ne­go­ti­ate a soft­wood lum­ber deal,” the min­is­ter told re­porters fol­low­ing her ear­lier ap­pear­ance with Lighthizer and their Mex­i­can coun­ter­part, Ilde­fonso Gua­jardo.

“I’m happy to start this af­ter­noon.”

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