Canada launches WTO trade complaint against US

Canada launches WTO trade complaint against US

Canada-U.S. trade lawyer Mark Warner said the complaints might have some merit, and Canada is well within its rights to complain to the WTO.

"Canada's new request for consultations at the WTO is a broad and ill-advised attack on the USA trade remedies system", US trade czar Robert Lighthizer said in a statement.

Canada claims the U.S.is guilty of breaking three basic WTO rules: the anti-dumping agreement, another on subsidies and a third on understanding the settlement of disputes mechanism.

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We'll see if other countries decide to join Canada in stepping forward to complain about USA trade practices. The U.S. government slapped punitive tariffs on Canadian exports to the United States, alleging the goods are subsidized and being dumped at low prices in the American market. Canada's claims threaten the ability of all countries to defend their workers against unfair trade.

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Canada's complaint comes as its efforts continue to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Canada is challenging the Trump administration's system of levying penalties on imports in a complaint at the World Trade Organization, a move likely to heat up simmering tensions between the two trading partners.

The filing also complained about USA treatment of export controls as well as the imposition of retroactive tariffs.

"These rates tabled lby the USA on uncoated groundwood paper represent the third action that stands to hurt hard working men and women in our mill communities across Canada", says Derek Nighbor, CEO, Forest Products Association of Canada. Sands, who said the move may have come because Canadian trade negotiators and politicians believe the strategy of playing nice with the Trump administration has not paid dividends.

"For example, if the US removed the orders listed in Canada's complaint, the flood of imports from China and other countries would negatively impact billions of dollars in Canadian exports to the United States, including almost $9-billion in exports of steel and aluminum products and more than $2.5-billion in exports of wood and paper products", Mr. Lighthizer said.

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Canada's $65-billion-a-year forest products industry represents 2 per cent of the country's Gross Domestic Product and is one of Canada's largest employers, operating in over 600 communities, providing 230,000 direct jobs, and 1 million indirect jobs across the country.

Put another way, Canada may be taking on the United States on behalf of the rest of the world, whether by default or construction.

"If Canada loses Chapter 19, it would have to go to the WTO", said Warner.

He pointed out that the vast majority of cases Canada is complaining about don't even involve Canadian companies. The Canadian government is preparing for the possibility that Trump will withdraw from NAFTA, senior officials say, though they aren't entirely convinced that he will.

Ideally, Canada would want to keep both chapter 19 and the United States' commitment to the WTO, since it gives it more ammunition in disputes.

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