Well, isn't this an exciting development:
U.S. slashes softwood duties
A routine accounting review has persuaded the United States to do what years of legal challenges and fiery rhetoric could not — dramatically lower the punishing duties on Canadian softwood lumber.
In a decision that will save Canadian lumber companies roughly $600-million a year, the U.S. Commerce Department said yesterday it was nearly halving its 20-per-cent duty. And unlike the seemingly endless litany of legal rulings dating to 2002, those savings will be enjoyed within days, or as soon as the new rate is published in the official U.S. Federal Register.
But don't get too excited -- the Americans are still being total pricks about this:
The U.S. lumber industry was quick to point out the new lower rate was due almost entirely to the stronger loonie, which lessens the impact of the alleged Canadian subsidies, and not a sudden change of heart by the Bush administration about whether Canada illegally props up its lumber industry.
Nor does the decision affect the highly contentious issue of who pockets the roughly $5-billion in duties collected by the United States since the dispute began in May of 2002.
Well, it was exciting while it lasted.