Canada has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) amid a dispute with the USA, a day after its newsprint became the latest product to be slapped with import duties by Washington.
"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. "But with the Trump administration being relatively new, and because of the protectionist noises we've been hearing from them, it's not at all clear what sort of reaction the USA might have".
Canada says the United States is breaking WTO rules in myriad ways, including by retroactively applying duties on foreign imports it deems to be subsidized or dumped, and using the lowest price it can find - rather than the average - when calculating alleged infractions.
On Tuesday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced that Washington would impose countervailing duties of between 6 and 10 percent on uncoated groundwood Canadian paper.
The WTO filing comes less than two weeks before the sixth round of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiation talks between the two countries and Mexico resume January 23 in Montreal. The US, which has threatened to scrap trade deals between the two, has called the move "ill-advised".
Washington was quick to respond, with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer issuing a statement Wednesday that called the filing a "broad and ill-advised attack on the U.S. trade remedies system".
He blasted Canada's move as a self-defeating one that will harm the interests of its own workers and businesses.
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.
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The Trump administration has begun vigorously enforcing U.S. trade laws by backing USA companies and industries that complain of harm from unfair trade by imposing duties on imports.
Canada has had it up to here with the United States and its trade remedy measures.
If the USA removed the orders in the complaint, Lighthizer said Canadian exports would be negatively impacted, including steel and aluminum and wood and paper products, Lighthizer said in his statement. 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.
"Even if Canada succeeded on these groundless claims, other countries would primarily benefit, not Canada".
A wide-ranging trade complaint has been filed by Canada against the USA, accusing it of breaking worldwide trade rules.
Under WTO dispute resolution rules, other countries named in the complaint can decide to take part in consultations after an initial reading.
"The U.S.is trying to bully us, and we're not going to stand for it", said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.