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Canada's WTO broadside: What's the strategy ?

12 January 2018, 11:12 | Joann Bryant

Canada launches global trade complaint against US

Canada's WTO complaint against US could scuttle NAFTA Expert

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says the WTO challenge is about the long-simmering trade dispute with the US over softwood lumber and is entirely separate from the NAFTA talks.

The 32-page complaint challenges Washington's use of anti-dumping and countervailing duties, arguing it goes against WTO rules.

"Canada and the USA enjoy one of the most productive trading relationships in the world".

She says Canada will bring some new, "creative" ideas to the sixth round of NAFTA negotiations later this month in Montreal, in response to some of the "more unconventional" USA proposals.

"Today's preliminary decision allows US producers to receive relief from the market-distorting effects of potential government subsidies", said Ross in a statement, instructing Customs and Border Protection agents to begin collecting cash deposits from paper importers at the border.

Canada says the US violated the WTO's Anti-Dumping Agreement, the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 and the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes.

Canada said the new USA duties imposed January 10 broke the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Anti-Dumping Agreement, the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes.

Lighthizer questioned why Canada filed so many complaints that included other countries.




He blasted Canada's move as a self-defeating one that will harm the interests of its own workers and businesses.

"Even if Canada succeeded on these groundless claims, other countries would primarily benefit, not Canada", he added, suggesting also that "Canada's complaint is bad for Canada".

Lighthizer also issued a cloaked warning that may be aimed at continued NAFTA talks. Canada has launched a wide-ranging attack against USA trade practices in a broad worldwide complaint over American use of punitive duties.

Canadian newsprint joined softwood lumber as the latest commodity to incur US import duties, with up to 9 percent levied on various companies.

In almost all cases, duties were imposed after the Commerce Department and ITA investigated charges by United States companies or industries, which claim to have been harmed by unfair import competition.

Canadian officials did not make an announcement with the release of the WTO filing but did respond to the newsprint duties.

Anticipating an imminent USA retreat from NAFTA, the Canadian government has made a decision to go on the offensive in managing its trade relations with our Southern neighbor. Otherwise Canada, which sends 75 percent of its goods exports to the U.S., could ask the trade organization to adjudicate.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr called the duties "unjustified" and said the move would hurt Americans.



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