US Trade Rep Blasts Canada WTO Complaint About US Duties

"Canada's claims are unfounded and could only lower US confidence that Canada is committed to mutually beneficial trade", he said.

"It's interesting that Canada has chosen to file such a broad complaint", Boscariol told CBA National. The association applauded the efforts of Democratic and Republican U.S. Senators, and the publishers of over one thousand small and medium-sized U.S. newspapers who have demanded that Washington not impose countervailing and anti-dumping duties on Canadian newsprint.

Under WTO dispute resolution rules, other countries named in the complaint can decide to take part in consultations after an initial reading.

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

In the 32-page complaint, Canada detailed areas where they argue that the United States' tariff investigations and reviews have been inconsistent with its obligations under several WTO agreements. This goes for trade negotiations with China, with Comprehensive Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership parties, and with the United States.

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

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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.

Second, Canada may be more strategic than we think. "We're about the start negotiations over NAFTA in Montreal".

Yet while "the rest of the world is trying to keep the USA engaged in that dispute-settlement system", Canada's generic complaint against the United States is "counterproductive", said Warner.

Across the negotiating table, the United States argues that chapter 19 is unnecessary because the WTO exists, (it did not when NAFTA came into force) and because the United States system is not biased in favour of USA firms.

The WTO revealed on Wednesday that Canada had filed a complaint last month accusing the U.S. of unfairly imposing countervailing and anti-dumping duties, not only on Canadian softwood lumber but also on goods from many other countries. Canada has launched a wide-ranging attack against USA trade practices in a broad worldwide complaint over American use of punitive duties. If the Trump administration undermines the WTO and even comes to reject it, then Canada is plenty justified in insisting to keep chapter 19 in NAFTA, since there would not be an alternative independent institution to deal with national countervailing and anti-dumping duties in North America.

As with the softwood lumber dispute, workers on both sides of the border are harmed by the trade war.

  • Megan Austin