Govt launches trade complaint against U.S. over duties

Canada Launches Trade Dispute Against US in WTO, Washington Strikes Back

US Trade Rep Blasts Canada WTO Complaint About US Duties

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

Trade relations between the countries have experienced some stumbling points as the sides are deadlocked in unsuccessful negotiations over NAFTA, the trade pact signed by the US, Canada, and Mexico in 1994 and based on the fundamental principle of tariff-elimination across North America.

The WTO revealed on Wednesday that Canada had filed a complaint last month accusing the United States of unfairly imposing countervailing and anti-dumping duties, not only on Canadian softwood lumber but also on goods from many other countries. 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.

The announcement of the case comes ahead of the January 23 start of the next round of trade talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement in Montreal.

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"Canada is acting against its own workers' and businesses' interests", he said.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Canada's complaint is "broad and ill-advised". Even if Canada succeeded with their claims, other countries would primarily benefit, not Canada, Lighthizer argued.

"These rates tabled lby the USA 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.

Under WTO dispute resolution rules, other countries named in the complaint can decide to take part in consultations after an initial reading.

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After reports Wednesday that Canada now considered it inevitable that Trump would try to withdraw the USA from the treaty, one Canadian official with knowledge of the NAFTA negotiation offered a more nuanced position in an email to the Post, saying, "it's not accurate to say we're convinced", but that there was "no question we think there's a chance it could happen". One of the United States' demands in the NAFTA renegotiation is chapter 19's elimination.

But it also goes well beyond Canada-U.S. softwood lumber spats, citing alleged worldwide trade breaches by the U.S. against a host of imported products, from Argentine lemon juice to frozen shrimp from India.

The FPAC noted this trade action will bring real harm to USA workers and businesses, impacting over 600,000 American jobs.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the legal action was in response to "unfair and unwarranted" USA duties against Canada's softwood lumber producers, and is part of a "broader litigation" to defend its forestry jobs. The U.S. imports about $1.6 billion a year in Canadian newsprint. "It's the same horror show over and over".

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