USTR: WTO complaint is bad for Canada

by Erica Shaffer
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WASHINGTON – Canada’s recent complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO) related to US anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties is bad for Canadian business, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said.

Canada filed a Request for Consultations over US trade remedy measures that Canada believes is inconsistent with the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures; General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994; the Anti-Dumping Agreement; and Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes. The complaint comes as Canada, Mexico and the US prepare for the sixth round of talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. So far, those talks have not gone well.

Lighthizer called the complaint “…a broad and ill-advised attack on the US trade remedies system.” He added that Canada’s claims are unfounded and “…could only lower US confidence that Canada is committed to mutually beneficial trade.”

“Canada is acting against its own workers’ and businesses’ interests,” Lighthizer said in a statement. “Even if Canada succeeded on these groundless claims, other countries would primarily benefit, not Canada.”

The complaint contains multiple examples of alleged violations of WTO rules in dealings with other trade partners such as China and the European Union.

“For example, if the US 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 nearly $9 billion in exports of steel and aluminum products and more than $2.5 billion in exports of wood and paper products. Canada’s claims threaten the ability of all countries to defend their workers against unfair trade. Canada’s complaint is bad for Canada.”

A Request for Consultations formally initiates a dispute in the WTO while giving Canada and the US an opportunity to discuss and resolve the matter. But Canada may request adjudication by a panel if no resolution is reached after 60 days.

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