Canada Launches Trade Dispute Against US in WTO, Washington Strikes Back
AP Photo/ Fabrice CoffriniBusiness17:17 10.01.2018(updated 21:40 10.01.2018) Get short URL190
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has described Canada’s move as “ill-advised attack.”
According to a WTO filing dated December 20 and published on January 10, Canada has launched a trade dispute against the US challenging its repeated use of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy trade remedies.
“The United States restricts interested parties from submitting factual information or other evidence which would allow them to fully defend their interests in anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations by effectively closing the evidentiary record before the preliminary determination,” the complaint stated.
The highly technical 32-page complaint lists 122 trade enforcement actions undertaken by the Trump administration, dealing with imports ranging from Chinese steel to pasta made in Italy. In nearly all cases, duties were imposed after the Commerce Department and ITA investigated charges by US companies or industries, which claim to have been harmed by unfair import competition.
In Canada’s case, the nation is alleging the US violated WTO rules with duties imposed on Canadian softwood lumber. Canada has protested the tariffs in other filings with the WTO and under the North American Free Trade Agreement.
But by listing nearly all trade enforcement actions by the Trump administration, the Canadian complaint also supports dozens of countries affected by the recent imposition of both preliminary and permanent US duties.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer commented on the move, saying that Canada’s protest against recent US trade actions in a complaint to the WTO is “a broad and ill-advised attack on the US trade remedies system.”
“Canada’s claims threaten the ability of all countries to defend their workers against unfair trade,” he said.
He further called Canada’s accusations “unfounded” and said that they “could only lower US confidence” that its neighbor is committed to mutually beneficial trade.
The Trump administration has begun vigorously enforcing US trade laws by backing US companies and industries that complain of harm from unfair trade by imposing duties on imports.
In doing so, President Donald Trump has reversed a policy favored by past presidents of relying on dispute resolution mechanisms in the WTO and existing agreements such as the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA).
Canada’s complaint coincides with separate trilateral negotiations to revise NAFTA, which created an open trading system between the United States, Canada and Mexico.