Canada files WTO complaint over U.S. trade practices

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Canada-U.S. trade lawyer Mark Warner said the complaints might have some merit, and Canada is well within its rights to complain to the WTO.

"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.

As with the softwood lumber dispute, workers on both sides of the border are harmed by the trade war.

Details of the WTO filing released Wednesday referenced almost 200 instances Canada claims the Americans breeched global trade rules by imposing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties.

Canada has had it up to here with the United States and its trade remedy measures.

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Warner believes that the Canadian government may be playing to a domestic audience in demonstrating that it is not only being "very assertive" in addressing trade disputes, but that it is also trying to "embarrass the Americans" before the world by citing nearly 180 trade breaches over two decades against other countries listed on 24 pages of Canada's 32-page complaint before the WTO.

"If Canada loses Chapter 19, it would have to go to the WTO", said Warner. 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. "I wonder why would you bring this complaint now".

Canada said the new US duties imposed January 10 broke the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Anti-Dumping Agreement, the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes.

He called it surprising that Canada is taking its action against an administration that already dislikes the WTO, and has sabotaged the appointment of new WTO judges.

Indeed, the Trump administration wasted no time expressing its displeasure. "Even if Canada succeeded on these groundless claims, other countries would primarily benefit, not Canada".

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Canada claims the U.S.is guilty of breaking three basic WTO rules: the anti-dumping agreement, another on subsidies and a third on understanding the settlement of disputes mechanism.

The move was denounced by the USA and had some trade experts worrying it could derail already tense negotiations to renew the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Though Canada certainly has plenty of domestic interest in pushing against the trade policies of its southern neighbor, its filing is about more than its own trade disputes.

"This WTO action is part of our broader litigation to defend the hundreds of thousands of good, middle class forestry jobs across our country", said Chrystia Freeland, Canada's minister of foreign affairs, in a statement".

The irony here is that Canada is making the same complaint about the United States.

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