Ottawa is challenging higher duties imposed on Canadian lumber imported into the United States, in the latest turn in a trade dispute that has persisted for decades between the two countries.

The challenge will be filed under the terms of the new North American free trade agreement, which was renewed in 2020 after a lengthy series of negotiations between the previous federal Liberal government and the Donald Trump administration in Washington.

In November, the U.S. government nearly doubled the tariffs collected on U.S.-bound Canadian lumber. The U.S. lumber industry has long argued that Canada’s system of allocating timber cutting rights amounts to government subsidies to the Canadian industry.

For just as long, Canada has refuted those U.S. claims, and argued tariffs on Canadian wood ultimately hurt new homebuyers in the U.S.

Federal Trade Minister Mary Ng said in a statement she expects Canada to be successful, as it has been in previous challenges to what she calls unwarranted duties on Canadian lumber.

Ng said the government remains interested in negotiating a settlement to the trade issue, but decided to go the route of a trade challenge in the absence of any movement from the Americans.

- With files from The Canadian Press