ibusinesslines.com March 23, 2018

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

12 January 2018, 11:12 | Kelvin Horton

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

Canada launches global trade complaint against US

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, seen here December 11, called Canada's request on Wednesday "a broad and ill-advised attack on the U.S. trade remedies system".

"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.

Almost half the cases the Trudeau government is championing in its WTO filing are instances in which the United States has penalized shipments from China that it considers subsidized or dumped at below-cost prices.

A wide-ranging trade complaint has been filed by Canada against the United States, accusing it of breaking global trade rules. We know that when unbiased entities review these unfair trade practices, they have found in Canada's favour.

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

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.

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

On Tuesday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced that Washington would impose countervailing duties of between 6 and 10 percent on uncoated groundwood Canadian paper.

Critics have accused the Trump administration of wanting to hobble the WTO.

"The WTO was set up for the benefit [of] everybody but us".

The Canadian move is "bold for sure and slightly risky", said Christopher Sands, director of the Center for Canadian Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. "In the past Canada has filed one-off cases in relation to a specific product or dispute such as softwood lumber". Sands, who said the move may have come because Canadian trade negotiators and politicians believe the strategy of playing nice with the Trump administration has not paid dividends.

Canada's $65-billion-a-year forest products industry represents 2 per cent of the country's Gross Domestic Product and is one of Canada's largest employers, operating in over 600 communities, providing 230,000 direct jobs, and 1 million indirect jobs across the country.

"This isn't going to calm passions in Montreal", Warner said.

WASHINGTON-Canada has launched a wide-ranging attack against American trade practices in a broad worldwide complaint over that country's use of punitive duties-a move the United States is calling "broad and ill-advised". The Canadian government is preparing for the possibility that Trump will withdraw from NAFTA, senior officials say, though they aren't entirely convinced that he will. Canada is bracing for the possibility Mr. Trump will trigger a withdrawal in the coming weeks. Such notice would not automatically mean a withdrawal: It would only give the United States the option to pull out after the six-month period elapses.

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