14 January, 2018
Warner believes that the Canadian government may be playing to a domestic audience in demonstrating that it is not only being "very assertive" in addressing trade disputes, but that it is also trying to "embarrass the Americans" before the world by citing nearly 180 trade breaches over two decades against other countries listed on 24 pages of Canada's 32-page complaint before the WTO. Canada's claims threaten the ability of all countries to defend their workers against unfair trade.
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 US interests.
"Canada's complaint is bad for Canada", said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
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. "Even if Canada succeeded on these groundless claims, other countries would primarily benefit, not Canada", he said. "Canada's forestry sector is following the rules and we're confident that we will prevail-again-in global tribunals". Missing from Lighthizer's statement, naturally, was any mention of how the administration he works for has lowered confidence in the U.S.'s commitment to mutually beneficial trade.
Canadian officials did not make an announcement with the release of the WTO filing but did respond to the newsprint duties.
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.More news: Millie Bobby Brown Is Set To Play Sherlock Holmes' Sister Enola Holmes
A massive question is left unanswered: why did Canada file this request at the WTO while the NAFTA renegotiations are underway (and nothing short of arduous)? "We're about the start negotiations over NAFTA in Montreal".
But it also goes well beyond Canada-U.S. softwood lumber spats, citing alleged worldwide trade breaches by the U.S. against a host of imported products, from Argentine lemon juice to frozen shrimp from India.
"For decades, the Canadian lumber industry has been subject to unfair and unwarranted duties imposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and has filed appeals under the NAFTA and WTO agreements", Yurkovich said in a statement.
Steep import duties leveled by the US have become a regular fixture of the industry, according to Joel Neuheimer, a vice-president at the Forest Products Association of Canada.
The FPAC noted this trade action will bring real harm to USA workers and businesses, impacting over 600,000 American jobs. "It's the same horror show over and over".