The removal of punitive duties on Nova Scotia softwood lumber exports was announced Thursday by the U.S. Department of Commerce, after it ruled Nova Scotia’s lumber sector was operating in an open market rather than receiving an unfair subsidy. That ruling also included Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island lumber producers. Also excluded are U.S. lumber shipped to Canada for some processing and imported back into the U.S., certain box-spring kits, and box-spring frame components. Most Canadian producers, however, will pay a combined countervailing and anti-dumping rate of 20.83 per cent, down from 26.75 per cent that the Commerce Department imposed earlier in the year. Premier Stephen McNeil told a news conference in Halifax on Thursday his government is very pleased with the decision.