Canada launches global trade complaint against US

Canada launches global trade complaint against US

Canada cites 188 examples of USA trade remedies in its claims, but only a handful involve US trade action against Canada and another 33 countries are mentioned.

By filing a WTO complaint over USA use of punitive duties, and charging that the U.S.is in violation of worldwide trade rules, not just in its dealings with us but other countries such as China, "Canada is taking a run against the entire USA trade regime", says John Boscariol, a trade lawyer with McCarthy Tétrault.

The WTO revealed on Wednesday that Canada had filed a complaint last month accusing the USA of unfairly imposing countervailing and anti-dumping duties, not only on Canadian softwood lumber but also on goods from many other countries.

The 32-page filing not only accuses the US of improperly imposing duties on Canadian products but also on those of other trading partners, including Brazil, China, EU and India.

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

Chad Bown, an economist and trade expert at the Peterson Institute in Washington, said Canada's WTO move sends a stark message to Mr. Trump amid NAFTA talks: If you kill the deal, this is how Canada will fight you in trade disputes.

The announcement of the case comes ahead of the January 23 start of the next round of trade talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement in Montreal. "It's nearly like Canada is fighting this on behalf of the worldwide community ..." "Even if Canada succeeded on these groundless claims, other countries would primarily benefit, not Canada".

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They fear that it could ultimately prompt United States President Donald Trump to invoke NAFTA's article 2205, notifying partners of intent to withdraw from the pact after a period of six months.

An official with the Foreign Affairs Ministry said Ottawa's most recent complaint aims to add weight to Canada's argument that import duties have been levied unfairly.

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

Filing the complaint is referred to as a request for consultations. "We're about the start negotiations over NAFTA in Montreal".

The highly technical 32-page complaint lists 122 trade enforcement actions undertaken by the Trump administration, dealing with imports ranging from Chinese steel to pasta made in Italy.

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.

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. "It's the same horror show over and over".

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