Canada challenges USA tariff system

Katrina Barker
January 14, 2018

"Canada's claims are unfounded and could only lower USA confidence that Canada is committed to mutually beneficial trade", Lighthizer said.

"It's interesting that Canada has chosen to file such a broad complaint", Boscariol told CBA National.

If Canada is successful at the WTO, the United States may have to change the way it approaches trade remedies cases.

Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland indicated that the step was a necessary response to the earlier softwood lumber dispute, though, the document attacks the entire United States system, not just the decisions on softwood lumber.

The announcement of the case comes ahead of the January 23 start of the next round of trade talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement in Montreal.

"It's (saying), 'The entire way in which the us - you - are conducting your anti-dumping, countervailing procedures, is wrong,"' said Chad Bown, a trade expert at Washington's Peterson Institute. This goes for trade negotiations with China, with Comprehensive Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership parties, and with the United States.

"Canada is acting against its own workers' and businesses' interests". Trying to get as much as possible from the process by using all political and legal means available is simply part of the process.

She says Canada will bring some new, "creative" ideas to the sixth round of NAFTA negotiations later this month in Montreal, in response to some of the "more unconventional" US proposals.

Second, Canada may be more strategic than we think.

The confusion over Canadian expectations comes ahead of the next round of negotiations, scheduled to be held in Montreal Jan. 23-28.

In short, Canada's complaint challenges the United States' use of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties, pointing to almost 200 instances where it believes the US isn't doing things in accordance with the rules.

Across the negotiating table, the United States argues that chapter 19 is unnecessary because the WTO exists, (it did not when NAFTA came into force) and because the United States system is not biased in favour of US firms.

Canada appeared to be mounting a case on behalf of the rest of the world, since it cited nearly 200 examples of alleged USA wrongdoing, nearly all of them concerning other trading partners, such as China, India, Brazil and the European Union.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says the WTO challenge is about the long-simmering trade dispute with the USA over softwood lumber and is entirely separate from the NAFTA talks. "It's nearly like Canada is fighting this on behalf of the global community".

As with the softwood lumber dispute, workers on both sides of the border are harmed by the trade war.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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