The US is set to reduce countervailing duties drastically on Canadian softwood lumber imports after saying it will comply with a recent North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) panel ruling.

The US commerce department said it would abide by the recent NAFTA decision despite “serious concerns” about the ruling.

Countervailing duties will reduce from an average 16% to less than 1%. A separate anti-dumping levy averaging 4% will remain in place.

But the reduction is unlikely to come into force for another six weeks as the US government clarifies NAFTA’s decision, which favoured Canada and ordered the US to either remove or amend its duties.

Canada has described America’s move as an important step in resolving the dispute, which has rumbled on since 2002.