Canada launches global trade complaint against US

Adjust Comment Print

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

Lighthizer questioned why Canada filed so many complaints that included other countries. "I'd think you're giving more ammunition to an administration that has taken the position that the WTO and bi-national panels infringe on the sovereignty of the United States".

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.

Filing the complaint is referred to as a request for consultations.

If Canada is successful at the WTO, the United States may have to change the way it approaches trade remedies cases.

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. Trying to get as much as possible from the process by using all political and legal means available is simply part of the process.

However, he explained that US President Donald Trump's administration "dislikes" the WTO's dispute-settlement body and believes that countries rely on it "inappropriately to achieve results they can't achieve through negotiations".


However, Canada's strategy is "particularly unwise", Warner told Xinhua.

The confusion over Canadian expectations comes ahead of the next round of negotiations, scheduled to be held in Montreal Jan. 23-28. Chapter 19 allows the parties to bypass the national judicial system to challenge countervailing and anti-dumping duties.

With its WTO filing, Canada is forcing the United States to put its logic to the test.

The wide-ranging trade dispute, which was filed with the WTO in December and released publicly on Wednesday, is mostly in response to the steep anti-dumping and countervailing duties that the United States has recently slapped on Canada's softwood lumber industry.

Canada cited five reasons for the complaint, saying the USA levies penalties beyond what's allowed by the WTO, improperly calculates rates, unfairly declares penalties retroactive, limits evidence from outside parties, and has a tilted voting system in domestic trade panels that, in the case of a 3-3 tie, awards the win to American companies. "It's nearly like Canada is fighting this on behalf of the global community ..."

Ideally, Canada would want to keep both chapter 19 and the United States' commitment to the WTO, since it gives it more ammunition in disputes. "As such, BC Lumber Trade Council fully supports the Government of Canada's efforts to have the WTO review these trade practices".

Comments