MONTREAL -- Quebec is claiming victory after the U.S. Department of Commerce was found to have violated several articles of an important international agreement by imposing countervailing duties on lumber imports from Canada in 2017, the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled.

In a 257-page ruling released on Monday, the WTO agrees with most of Ottawa's claims that Washington has violated the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures.

The Quebec government believes this is an "important victory" that confirms its claims that the province's forestry industry has respected international trade rules and that it should not be subject to U.S. countervailing duties.

U.S. tariffs are a real "injustice, and Washington should put an end to the softwood lumber dispute" by removing the brakes on free trade between the two markets, said Minister of the Economy Pierre Fitzgibbon, in a statement.

Quebec says that wood collected from public forests is sold at fair market value and that it is not subsidized.

Welcoming the decision, the Quebec Forest Industry Council believes it is giving Ottawa "strong arguments" to ask the United States to stop its "counterproductive protectionist measures."

-- this report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 24, 2020.