Canada launches global trade complaint against US

Canada launches global trade complaint against US

Canada has "thrown a grenade" at the USA filing a complaint with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against its southern neighbour's use of trade sanctions, which might wreck their current North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations, said an global trade law expert.

The Canadian government feels this case could add weight to an existing complaint to the WTO over the duties Washington has levied on Canadian softwood.

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.

Canada has protested the tariffs in other filings with the WTO and under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Canada lodged a World Trade Organization complaint accusing the US of regularly breaching worldwide trade laws through various countervailing and anti-dumping duties, citing almost 200 examples spanning several decades.

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".

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While Canada continues to hope for the best from the NAFTA renegotiation, Freeland says it is also preparing for the worst-case scenario - a decision by President Donald Trump to withdraw from the three-way, continental trade pact. Canada's claims threaten the ability of all countries to defend their workers against unfair trade.

Lighthizer also issued a cloaked warning that may be aimed at continued NAFTA talks. We know that when unbiased entities review these unfair trade practices, they have found in Canada's favour.

Canadian newsprint joined softwood lumber as the latest commodity to incur US import duties, with up to 9 percent levied on various companies.

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.

"These duties are unwarranted and without merit and we 100 per cent support the federal government's WTO filing position".

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. Otherwise Canada, which sends 75 percent of its goods exports to the United States, could ask the trade organization to adjudicate.

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