Canada mounts WTO challenge amid worries of US NAFTA split

Canada mounts WTO challenge amid worries of US NAFTA split

The new complaint Canada has filed with the World Trade Organization is an unfriendly gesture between two countries that are each other's biggest trading partner and it appears intent on making the case that the United States has diverged from the rules-based global order that has been built up over successive multilateral trade deals. "It's nearly like Canada is fighting this on behalf of the worldwide community ..." The association applauded the efforts of Democratic and Republican U.S. Senators, and the publishers of over one thousand small and medium-sized U.S. newspapers who have demanded that Washington not impose countervailing and anti-dumping duties on Canadian newsprint. There are 122 instances involving various countries listed in the WTO filing, which dates to December.

Kevin Dietsch/SIPA/NewscomAmerica's trading relationship with its northern neighbor continues to deteriorate as the US and Canada butt heads over the Trump administration's protectionism.

Further to the WTO complaint, Lighthizer said, "Canada is acting against its own workers' and businesses' interests".

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

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

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.

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

However, he explained that US President Donald Trump's administration "dislikes" the WTO's dispute-settlement body and believes that countries rely on it "inappropriately to achieve results they can't achieve through negotiations". "In the past Canada has filed one-off cases in relation to a specific product or dispute such as softwood lumber".

Steep import duties leveled by the US have become a regular fixture of the industry, according to Joel Neuheimer, a vice-president at the Forest Products Association of Canada.

"This sends a signal to the Trump administration that if NAFTA is going to end, and we are going to be treated no better than other countries in the world, then this is the kind of treatment you can expect to receive in return", said Mr. Bown, a former official in the Obama administration and at the World Bank. 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.

In the 32-page complaint, Canada detailed areas where they argue that the United States' tariff investigations and reviews have been inconsistent with its obligations under several WTO agreements.

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