Wednesday, 19 September, 2018

Canada Launches Trade Dispute Against US in WTO, Washington Strikes Back

Canada Launches Trade Dispute Against US in WTO, Washington Strikes Back Canada Launches Trade Dispute Against US in WTO, Washington Strikes Back
Patty Aguilar | 12 January, 2018, 22:11

"Canada and the US share a longstanding and important relationship, but in the face of these unfounded trade actions it's important that our government defends Canada's interests".

"This isn't going to calm passions in Montreal", said Canada-U.S. trade lawyer Mark Warner.

Canada has protested the tariffs in other filings with the WTO and under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

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.

"Even if Canada succeeded on these groundless claims, other countries would primarily benefit, not Canada".

The wide-ranging trade dispute, which was filed with the WTO in December and released publicly on Wednesday, is mostly in response to the steep anti-dumping and countervailing duties that the United States has recently slapped on Canada's softwood lumber industry.

He further called Canada's accusations "unfounded" and said that they "could only lower U.S. confidence" that its neighbor is committed to mutually beneficial trade.

In 2016, the US imported almost $1.3 billion worth of the Canadian paper.

NAFTA has been heavily criticized by Trump, who called it the "worst deal in U.S. history" and warned that he might scrap it.

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The thinly veiled threat gives new rise to concerns for positive progress in the ongoing NAFTA renegotiations ahead of the next round of talks set for January 23 in Montreal. Canada's claims threaten the ability of all countries to defend their workers against unfair trade.

Trump withdrawing from NAFTA "was always a risk, but that risk is clearly more elevated now", said Brian DePratto, senior economist at Toronto-Dominion Bank.

Further to the WTO complaint, Lighthizer said, "Canada is acting against its own workers' and businesses' interests".

However, he explained that U.S. President Donald Trump's administration "dislikes" the WTO's dispute-settlement body and believes that countries rely on it "inappropriately to achieve results they can't achieve through negotiations".

The Trump administration has begun vigorously enforcing USA trade laws by backing U.S. companies and industries that complain of harm from unfair trade by imposing duties on imports.

"In a normal situation you wouldn't expect this to impact the long-term trading relationship that we've got under NAFTA", he said.

Publication of the complaint came just hours after the U.S. Commerce Department placed preliminary duties on Canadian exports of uncoated groundwood paper, which is used to manufacture newspapers, soft-cover books and phone directories.

"This has been a chronic problem for us", he said.

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