Canada Launches Trade Dispute Against US in WTO, Washington Strikes Back


Canada Launches Trade Dispute Against US in WTO, Washington Strikes Back

"Canada's claims are unfounded and could only lower USA confidence that Canada is committed to mutually beneficial trade", Lighthizer said. "This is effectively Canada bringing a dispute on behalf of all exporters in the world - the Europeans, Japan, China - because they're making a systemic challenge".

On Wednesday the country requested that the World Trade Organization step in to review certain US trade actions and whether they're in accordance with its obligations as a member of the WTO.

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.

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.

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.

"This isn't going to calm passions in Montreal", Warner said. But he questioned the strategic logic of antagonizing the Trump administration in the midst of NAFTA talks.

The file was made public on Wednesday and cites almost 200 complaints by Canada against the USA, many of which include Canada's trading partners such as China, India, Brazil, and the European Union.

Even so, any complaint before the WTO will take years, and the effort is further complicated by the fact that the Trump administration is blocking new appointments to the WTO's appellate body.

Indeed, the Trump administration wasted no time expressing its displeasure.

In a statement in response to Canada's move, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said, "Canada's new request for consultations at the WTO is a broad and ill-advised attack on the U.S. trade remedies system".

"Even if Canada succeeded on these groundless claims, other countries would primarily benefit, not Canada", he added, suggesting also that "Canada's complaint is bad for Canada".

Canada says the US violated 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.

"This WTO action is part of our broader litigation to defend the hundreds of thousands of good, middle class forestry jobs across our country", said Chrystia Freeland, Canada's minister of foreign affairs, in a statement".

The complaint covers actions taken against not just Canada but countries all around the world, from Japan to South Africa.