Canada files WTO complaint over USA trade practices



"Canada's new request for consultations at the WTO is a broad and ill-advised attack on the US trade remedies system", Lighthizer said in a Wednesday statement.

Washington was quick to respond, with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer issuing a statement Wednesday that called the filing a "broad and ill-advised attack on the U.S. trade remedies system".

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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The complaint marks Canada's most exhaustive attempt yet to counter recent import duties imposed by the US, particularly on Canadian softwood lumber products.

The file was made public on Wednesday and cites almost 200 complaints by Canada against the US, many of which include Canada's trading partners such as China, India, Brazil, and the European Union.

In Canada's case, the nation is alleging the United States violated WTO rules with duties imposed on Canadian softwood lumber.

In a complaint that's dramatically ramping up tensions between the two neighbours in the midst of major trade negotiations, Canada wants the World Trade Organization to examine the use of duties in the United States, alleging that they violate global law for five reasons. But he questioned the strategic logic of antagonizing the Trump administration in the midst of NAFTA talks.

"These rates tabled lby the US on uncoated groundwood paper represent the third action that stands to hurt hard working men and women in our mill communities across Canada", says Derek Nighbor, CEO, Forest Products Association of Canada.

If the USA 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.

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

He said it could be another step toward what he says is a nightmare scenario for the NAFTA talks, which is that the Americans call a halt to those negotiations and talk separately with Mexico in hopes of signing a bilateral deal before the Mexican elections later this year and USA midterm Congressional elections this fall.

"If Canada loses Chapter 19, it would have to go to the WTO", said Warner.

While Canada continues to hope for the best from the NAFTA renegotiation, Freeland says it is also preparing for the worst-case scenario - a decision by President Donald Trump to withdraw from the three-way, continental trade pact.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly threatened to pull out of NAFTA - or at least trigger the withdrawal process to increase pressure on Canada and Mexico.

Mr. Bown said aggressively taking on the United States at the WTO is also something of an insurance policy for Canada: If NAFTA is torn up, or if the revised deal guts its dispute-settlement mechanisms - which the United States has proposed - Ottawa will have to rely on the WTO to pursue Washington.

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.

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