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Canada's WTO broadside: What's the strategy ?

Canada's WTO broadside: What's the strategy ?

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.

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.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has described Canada's move as "ill-advised attack".

In other words, Canada is trying to show that the United States cannot have it both ways; they can't eliminate chapter 19 and disregard the WTO's authority to judge the US trade remedy system and its decisions.

"Even if Canada succeeded on these groundless claims, other countries would primarily benefit, not Canada".

The 32-page complaint challenges Washington's use of anti-dumping and countervailing duties, arguing it goes against WTO rules. "Canada's forestry sector is following the rules and we're confident that we will prevail-again-in global tribunals".

"Canada's new request for consultations at the WTO is a broad and ill-advised attack on the USA trade remedies system", Lighthizer said in a Wednesday statement.

Canada has "thrown a grenade" at the U.S. 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 worldwide trade law expert.

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"Canada considers the measures relating to US anti-dumping or countervailing duty investigations, reviews or other proceedings are inconsistent with USA obligations under the WTO's Anti-Dumping Agreement, the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 and the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes", the document's preamble states.

"These duties are unwarranted and without merit and we 100 per cent support the federal government's WTO filing position". One of the United States' demands in the NAFTA renegotiation is chapter 19's elimination.

"We know that when unbiased entities review these unfair trade practices, they have found in Canada's favour", Yurkovich said in a statement.

Canada's complaint with the WTO is a request for consultation, which formally initiates a dispute in the WTO.

The FPAC noted this trade action will bring real harm to USA workers and businesses, impacting over 600,000 American jobs.

Publication of the complaint came just hours after the U.S. Commerce Department placed preliminary duties on Canadian exports of uncoated groundwood paper, which is used to manufacture newspapers, soft-cover books and phone directories.

"This has been a chronic problem for us", he said.

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