The Commerce Department said Wednesday it will meet a Nov. 23 deadline to comply with a NAFTA panel's order that the U.S. drastically cut its duties on Canadian softwood-lumber imports.

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Pacific Northwest


The Commerce Department said Wednesday it will meet a Nov. 23 deadline to comply with a NAFTA panel’s order that the U.S. drastically cut its duties on Canadian softwood-lumber imports.


The panel, created under the North American Free Trade Agreement, is calling on the Commerce Department to all but eliminate punitive duties that average more than 16 percent. Canada accounts for about one-third of the U.S. market for softwood, or easily sawed pine, spruce and other wood used in home building.


Last month, U.S. officials said they needed more time to consider the latest NAFTA ruling in favor of Canada. On Wednesday, after the NAFTA panel reiterated its call for quick U.S. action, the Commerce Department said it would meet the deadline.


The Bush administration imposed the tariffs in 2002, accusing Canada of subsidizing its lumber industry.


Nation and World

Research In Motion

Design finished to keep e-mails up


Research In Motion, facing a patent lawsuit that may halt U.S. sales of its BlackBerry e-mail pagers, has finished a new design that would keep the systems running if the company loses the case.


The design may help Research In Motion keep operating in the U.S., which accounts for almost 70 percent of sales. A deal between the company and closely held NTP fell apart in June, and U.S. District Judge James Spencer in Richmond, Va., is now considering whether that agreement is still enforceable.


NTP lawyer James Wallace of Wiley Rein & Fielding said Wednesday that his firm will examine any alterations to see if it does avoid NTP’s patented technology.


Delphi

Union scoffs at company’s offer


Delphi, the huge auto-parts supplier that filed for bankruptcy protection last month, has made another proposal to its unions in an effort to win wage and benefit concessions, but union leaders Wednesday called the offer “ridiculous.”


The impasse has led to speculation that there could be a strike at Delphi that would cripple the auto industry and especially General Motors, which spun off Delphi in 1999 and relies on the supplier for billions of dollars in parts.


United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger said the proposal still requires workers who now earn $27 hourly to take drastic pay cuts. He called the offer “ridiculous.”

NYSE / Nasdaq

Justice approves planned mergers


The Justice Department on Wednesday approved big mergers planned by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the Nasdaq Stock Market, saying the new combinations were not likely to damage competition.


The deals await approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission, which oversees U.S. stock markets.


Compiled from The Associated Press and Bloomberg News