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Govt launches trade complaint against United States over duties

14 January 2018

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has dismissed the complaint, saying "Canada's claims are unfounded and could only lower U.S. confidence that Canada is committed to mutually beneficial trade".

An official with the Foreign Affairs Ministry said Ottawa's most recent complaint aims to add weight to Canada's argument that import duties have been levied unfairly.

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

We'll see if other countries decide to join Canada in stepping forward to complain about USA trade practices. He explained, "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. "It's nearly like Canada is fighting this on behalf of the global community".

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Canada has protested the tariffs in other filings with the WTO and under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Canada says the USA 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 claims are unfounded and could only lower US confidence that Canada is committed to mutually beneficial trade".

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.

The thinly veiled threat gives new rise to concerns for positive progress in the ongoing NAFTA renegotiations ahead of the next round of talks set for January 23 in Montreal. "We're about the start negotiations over NAFTA in Montreal".

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

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Filing the complaint is referred to as a request for consultations.

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

On Tuesday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced that Washington would impose countervailing duties of between 6 and 10 percent on uncoated groundwood Canadian paper.

Steep import duties leveled by the USA have become a regular fixture of the industry, according to Joel Neuheimer, a vice-president at the Forest Products Association of Canada.

Indeed, the Trump administration wasted no time expressing its displeasure. "It's the same horror show over and over".

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Govt launches trade complaint against United States over duties