Economy

Canada launches trade dispute with U.S. through World Trade Organization

Canada launches trade dispute with U.S. through World Trade Organization”

Canada has launched a World Trade Organization complaint about the USA system for imposing punitive duties, alleging that they violate worldwide law.

The action joins a growing list of disputes between the countries over issues such as aircraft sales and timber, as well as efforts to renegotiate the North American free-trade deal. The U.S.is imposing duties of up to nine per cent on Canadian paper, following similar penalties against Bombardier and softwood lumber, over what the U.S. alleges to be unfair Canadian trade practices.

The company has a base in Northern Ireland, where it employs about 4,000 people.

The complaint, filed last month but released Wednesday, comes just as USA announces duties of up to nine per cent on Canadian paper, and follows a series of similar penalties as the US alleges unfair trade practices from Canada in the form of softwood lumber and Bombardier subsidies.

The 32-page complaint homed in on technical details of the U.S. trade rulebook, ranging from the U.S. treatment of export controls to the use of retroactive duties and split decisions by the six-member U.S. International Trade Commission.

Canada is now arguing that the entire American process for imposing anti-dumping and countervailing duties violates global trade rules.

The complaint holds global consequences. Canada cited 122 cases in which it says the USA unfairly imposed duties on foreign countries, not just Canada.

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

Canada said USA procedures broke the WTO's 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. "Trump prefers bilateral negotiations with each of Canada and Mexico". But he questioned the strategic logic of antagonizing the Trump administration on the cusp of the potentially pivotal Montreal talks when it's already unhappy with both NAFTA and the WTO. "It's nearly like Canada is fighting this on behalf of the global community".

Indeed, the Trump administration wasted no time expressing its displeasure.

He blasted Canada's move as a self-defeating one that will harm the interests of its own workers and businesses.

Nelson Wiseman, a political science professor at the University of Toronto, said Canada's complaint might have been made public Wednesday because Canada could be signaling to the Canadian public not to expect anything from the coming round of NAFTA talks in Montreal later this month, which he says may well be the last round.

If the US removed the orders in the complaint, Lighthizer said Canadian exports would be negatively impacted, including steel and aluminum and wood and paper products, Lighthizer said in his statement.



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