Canada launches global trade complaint against US

by Garry Watts Января 14, 2018, 0:08
Canada launches global trade complaint against US

Missing from Lighthizer's statement, naturally, was any mention of how the administration he works for has lowered confidence in the U.S.'s commitment to mutually beneficial trade.

Canada has filed a comprehensive complaint with the World Trade Organization accusing the United States of breaking worldwide trade rules.

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.

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Under WTO rules, the United States has 60 days to try to settle the complaint, or Canada, which sends 75 per cent of its goods exports to the United States, could ask the WTO to adjudicate. "Canada's claims are unfounded and could only lower US confidence that Canada is committed to mutually beneficial trade".

In short, Canada's complaint challenges the United States' use of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties, pointing to almost 200 instances where it believes the USA isn't doing things in accordance with the rules. "In the past Canada has filed one-off cases in relation to a specific product or dispute such as softwood lumber". This decision appears even more fraught given the USA administration's critical stance on the WTO; the Trump administration feels as if world trade rules are stacked against them.

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It says the US levies penalties beyond what's allowed by the WTO, improperly calculates rates, and unfairly declares penalties retroactive, while also limiting evidence from outside parties.

The US just announced duties of up to 9 percent on Canadian paper. "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 filing has potentially strengthened Canada's hand in the NAFTA renegotiations, all the while putting pressure on the the softwood lumber dispute, among others.

"If Canada loses Chapter 19, it would have to go to the WTO", said Warner. 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 "thrown a grenade" at the United States filing a complaint with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against its southern neighbour's use of trade sanctions, which might wreck their current North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations, said an worldwide trade law expert.

It also might result in a flood of imports from other countries - if the complaint successfully have American tariffs removed - and cost Canada billions of dollars in exports to the US, Lighthizer said.

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