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Canada Launches Global Trade Complaint Against US Over Use of Duties

12 January 2018, 11:14 | Melvin Schneider

Canada Launches Global Trade Complaint Against US Over Use of Duties

Canada Launches Global Trade Complaint Against US Over Use of Duties

"Canada's new request for consultations at the WTO is a broad and ill-advised attack on the USA trade remedies system", Lighthizer said in a Wednesday statement. "This is effectively Canada bringing a dispute on behalf of all exporters in the world - the Europeans, Japan, China - because they're making a systemic challenge".

He said that during the current NAFTA negotiations, which enter the sixth round in Canada later this month, the U.S. has made it clear that it wants to remove a dispute-resolution mechanism for anti-dumping and countervailing cases under Chapter 19 of the 24-year-old trilateral trade agreement. 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.

Canada has had it up to here with the United States and its trade remedy measures.

This decision appears even more fraught given the US administration's critical stance on the WTO; the Trump administration feels as if world trade rules are stacked against them. But he questioned the strategic logic of antagonizing the Trump administration in the midst of NAFTA talks.

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.

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Even so, any complaint before the WTO will take years, and the effort is further complicated by the fact that the Trump administration is blocking new appointments to the WTO's appellate body. Canada has launched a wide-ranging attack against US trade practices in a broad global complaint over American use of punitive duties. "But with the Trump administration being relatively new, and because of the protectionist noises we've been hearing from them, it's not at all clear what sort of reaction the USA might have".

"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.

Canada says the USA violated the WTO's Anti-Dumping Agreement, the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 and the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes. The United States strongly criticized the Canadian action on Wednesday, warning it will end up backfiring against Canada because, were it to succeed, it could lead to a flood of imports from China into the United States that would displace other countries' products.

"Canada's claims threaten the ability of all countries to defend their workers against unfair trade".

"It's interesting that Canada has chosen to file such a broad complaint", Boscariol told CBA National.



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