Canada files almost 200 trade complaints against US

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US trade representative Robert Lighthizer issued a rebuttal calling Canada's case an "ill-advised attack on the USA trade remedies system".

"Canada is acting against its own workers' and businesses' interests".

He said that during the current NAFTA negotiations, which enter the sixth round in Canada later this month, the United States has made it clear that it wants to remove a dispute-resolution mechanism for anti-dumping and countervailing cases under Chapter 19 of the 24-year-old trilateral trade agreement. "Canada's claims are unfounded and could only lower USA confidence that Canada is committed to mutually beneficial trade".

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

Anti-dumping and countervailing duties - punitive tariffs to restrict imports that are unfairly priced or subsidised in order to beat the competition - are a core component of Washington's trade arsenal, and frequently used to defend USA interests.

"These rates tabled lby the USA on uncoated groundwood paper represent the third action that stands to hurt hard working men and women in our mill communities across Canada", says Derek Nighbor, CEO, Forest Products Association of Canada.

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

Trump has also upset Canada by slapping punitive tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber exports, leading to a challenge by Ottawa at the WTO and the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Canada claims the U.S.is guilty of breaking three basic WTO rules: the anti-dumping agreement, another on subsidies and a third on understanding the settlement of disputes mechanism.

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The Trump government's re-introduction of duties on Canadian softwood and newsprint exports will cost the industry billions and job loss could be as high as 25,000.

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

But it also goes well beyond Canada-U.S. softwood lumber spats, citing alleged global trade breaches by the U.S. against a host of imported products, from Argentine lemon juice to frozen shrimp from India.

"In a normal situation you wouldn't expect this to impact the long-term trading relationship that we've got under NAFTA", he said.

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.

Anticipating an imminent USA retreat from NAFTA, the Canadian government has made a decision to go on the offensive in managing its trade relations with our Southern neighbor.

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.

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

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