Canada files almost 200 trade complaints against US

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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".

A spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said this challenge is tied to Canada's latest fight with the United States over softwood lumber.

Canada is in essence arguing that the American use of anti-dumping and countervailing duties violates global trade rules.

The complaint covers actions taken against not just Canada but countries all around the world, from Japan to South Africa. "Canada and the US share a longstanding and important relationship, but in the face of these unfounded trade actions it's important that our government defends Canada's interests".

"For example, if the USA removed the orders listed in Canada's complaint, the flood of imports from China and other countries would negatively impact billions of dollars in Canadian exports to the United States, including almost $9-billion in exports of steel and aluminum products and more than $2.5-billion in exports of wood and paper products", Mr. Lighthizer said.

The 32-page complaint cites dozens of examples unrelated to Canada, including 122 cases where the United States imposed duties on foreign countries.

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Canadian officials did not make an announcement with the release of the WTO filing but did respond to the newsprint duties.

Canada has "thrown a grenade" at the U.S. filing a complaint with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against its southern neighbour's use of trade sanctions, which might wreck their current North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations, said an worldwide trade law expert. Mr. Trump has complained the organization, which came into being because of USA support, is biased against American interests. "It's an escalation for sure", said Prof. But he questioned the strategic logic of antagonizing the Trump administration in the midst of NAFTA talks.

Canada's $65-billion-a-year forest products industry represents 2 per cent of the country's Gross Domestic Product and is one of Canada's largest employers, operating in over 600 communities, providing 230,000 direct jobs, and 1 million indirect jobs across the country.

He said that during the current NAFTA negotiations, which enter the sixth round in Canada later this month, the U.S. 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.

"This isn't going to calm passions in Montreal", Warner said.

This is hardly Donald Trump's first protectionist action against Canada. Such notice would not automatically mean a withdrawal: It would only give the United States the option to pull out after the six-month period elapses.

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