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What's the strategy — Canada's WTO broadside
14 January 2018, 12:09 | Katrina Lee
US Trade Rep Blasts Canada WTO Complaint About US Duties
"Canada's new request for consultations at the WTO is a broad and ill-advised attack on the U.S. trade remedies system", said U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerMORE in a statement.
He added that Canada is against its own interests and would not benefit even if the case succeeds. Canada's claims threaten the ability of all countries to defend their workers against unfair trade.
Canada has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) amid a dispute with the US, a day after its newsprint became the latest product to be slapped with import duties by Washington.
The 32-page filing not only accuses the USA of improperly imposing duties on Canadian products but also on those of other trading partners, including Brazil, China, EU and India.
The move drew a sharp rebuke from Donald Trump's trade czar and came amid reports that Canadian government officials say there's an increasing likelihood the president will withdraw from the three-nation North American Free Trade Agreement.
The Canadian government has launched a sweeping World Trade Organization complaint against a litany of USA trade practices, alleging almost 200 violations of WTO rules by US investigators reaching back more than 20 years, according to documents published Wednesday.
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. The negotiations certainly aren't unfamiliar with shows of muscle or grandstanding; think of the Trump administration's outrageous NAFTA demands, the threat to leave NAFTA, the softwood lumber dispute, the Boeing-Bombardier dispute and most recently, the newspaper dispute.
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The confusion over Canadian expectations comes ahead of the next round of negotiations, scheduled to be held in Montreal Jan. 23-28.
The U.S. used the same argument it did in imposing stiff duties against softwood lumber: that the Canadian companies received unfair subsidies from the Canadian government.
A massive question is left unanswered: why did Canada file this request at the WTO while the NAFTA renegotiations are underway (and nothing short of arduous)?
"In a normal situation you wouldn't expect this to impact the long-term trading relationship that we've got under NAFTA", he said.
The FPAC noted this trade action will bring real harm to US workers and businesses, impacting over 600,000 American jobs.
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the legal action was in response to the "unfair and unwarranted" US duties against Canada's softwood lumber producers and part of a "broader litigation" to defend forestry jobs.
Anticipating an imminent US retreat from NAFTA, the Canadian government has chose to go on the offensive in managing its trade relations with our Southern neighbor.
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