Canada Targets US Trade Remedies With Massive WTO Case

Canada launches global trade complaint against US

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

Canada's filing of a complaint with the World Trade Organization over the United States' anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties is "broad and ill-advised", U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said.

The move was denounced by the US and had some trade experts worrying it could derail already tense negotiations to renew the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"Remedies ensure that trade is fair by counteracting dumping or subsidies that are injuring US workers, farmers, and manufacturers".

In a statement, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said, "This WTO action is part of our broader litigation to defend the hundreds of thousands of good, middle class forestry jobs across our country".

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.

We'll see if other countries decide to join Canada in stepping forward to complain about USA trade practices.

"It's (saying), 'The entire way in which the USA - you - are conducting your anti-dumping, countervailing procedures, is wrong,"' said Chad Bown, a trade expert at Washington's Peterson Institute.

"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.

Even so, Boscariol calls the timing of Canada's' request "mystifying".

This is hardly Donald Trump's first protectionist action against Canada.

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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.

Though Canada certainly has plenty of domestic interest in pushing against the trade policies of its southern neighbor, its filing is about more than its own trade disputes.

The complaint, filed last month but released January 10, comes just as the United States announces duties of up to nine percent on Canadian paper, and follows a series of similar penalties as Washington alleges unfair trade practices from Canada in the form of softwood lumber and Bombardier subsidies.

The complaint is "certainly not typical", said Greg Kanargelidis, an global trade lawyer at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP.

A massive question is left unanswered: why did Canada file this request at the WTO while the NAFTA renegotiations are underway (and nothing short of arduous)?

"We continue to engage our American counterparts to encourage them to come to a durable negotiated agreement on softwood lumber", Freeland said.

But by listing almost all trade enforcement actions by the Trump administration, the Canadian complaint also supports dozens of countries affected by the recent imposition of both preliminary and permanent United States duties.

The U.S. used the same argument it did in imposing stiff duties against softwood lumber: that the Canadian companies received unfair subsidies from the Canadian government.

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

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