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Canada files WTO complaint over US trade practices

Jan. 11, 2018 – On Dec. 20, 2017 Canada filed a WTO complaint against the United States concerning its trade practices that Canada says violate international trade law.

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

Filing the complaint is referred to as a request for consultations. This means both sides have 60 days to try and find a solution, after which Canada can request adjudication by a panel.

“For decades, the Canadian lumber industry has been subject to unfair and unwarranted duties imposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and has filed appeals under the NAFTA and WTO agreements,” said Susan Yurkovich, president of the BC Lumber Trade Council.

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

Canada says the U.S. 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.

“Canada’s new request for consultations at the WTO is a broad and ill-advised attack on the U.S. trade remedies system,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in response to Canada’s legal action.

“Canada’s claims are unfounded and could only lower U.S. confidence that Canada is committed to mutually beneficial trade,” Lighthizer said in a statement.

He added that Canada is against its own interests and would not benefit even if the case succeeds.

"We are repeatedly confronting the same discredited protectionist policies when we fairly sell paper and lumber to American consumers who need and want these products," said Richard Garneau, president and chief executive officer of Resolute Forest Products.

"Many more jobs are at risk in the United States when there is not enough lumber to build houses or paper to print newspapers and books. Unfortunately, it is American consumers who pay the price of unfair duties," Garneau said in a statement.

Canada has taken this latest action following final countervailing and anti-dumping duties imposed by the U.S. earlier this month.

January 11, 2018  By  Tamar Atik

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