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Stephen Claeys Serves on NAFTA Dispute Resolution Panel Reviewing U.S. Tariffs on Softwood Lumber from Canada

May 15, 2019

Washington, DC — Stephen J. Claeys, partner in Wiley Rein’s International Trade Practice, is serving on a five-member NAFTA dispute resolution panel reviewing U.S. tariffs on imports of softwood lumber from Canada. Mr. Claeys is among two U.S. experts who were appointed to the binational panel along with three experts from Canada.

The panel heard oral arguments last week in a Canadian challenge to a 2017 ruling by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) that upheld tariffs on the Canadian softwood lumber imports. The May 7 hearing, held at the American University campus in Washington, was covered by Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper.

The ITC found in December 2017 that the U.S. industry is materially injured by softwood lumber imports from Canada that the U.S. Department of Commerce had determined are subsidized and sold in the United States at less than fair value. The ITC decision cleared the way for Commerce to issue antidumping and countervailing duties on the imports.

The Government of Canada, four of Canada’s provincial governments, and several Canadian lumber companies and industry groups subsequently requested a review by the binational panel under Article 1904 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Mr. Claeys assists clients on international trade law and policy matters including bilateral and multilateral trade agreements, trade remedies and safeguards, foreign market access barriers, e-commerce and digital trade, agriculture trade, and customs enforcement. Prior to joining Wiley Rein in 2017, he served as trade counsel for the U.S. House Committee on Ways & Means, Subcommittee on Trade. He also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping/Countervailing Duty Operations at the Department of Commerce, where he was the agency’s lead negotiator for the U.S.-Canada softwood lumber agreement.