Canada's WTO broadside: What's the strategy ?


If these countries can defend and promote their own interests, why shouldn't Canada?

Canada has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) amid a dispute with the USA, a day after its newsprint became the latest product to be slapped with import duties by Washington.

Canada's complaint coincides with separate trilateral negotiations to revise NAFTA, which created an open trading system between the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Kevin Dietsch/SIPA/NewscomAmerica's trading relationship with its northern neighbor continues to deteriorate as the US and Canada butt heads over the Trump administration's protectionism.

The complaint covers actions taken against not just Canada but countries all around the world, from Japan to South Africa.

The WTO filing comes less than two weeks before the sixth round of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiation talks between the two countries and Mexico resume January 23 in Montreal.

We'll see if other countries decide to join Canada in stepping forward to complain about USA trade practices. The Canadian government is preparing for the possibility that Trump will withdraw from NAFTA, senior officials say, though they aren't entirely convinced that he will.

Under WTO dispute resolution rules, other countries named in the complaint can decide to take part in consultations after an initial reading.

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However, Canada's strategy is "particularly unwise", Warner told Xinhua.

In October, for example, the U.S. Department of Commerce slapped an 80 percent anti-dumping duty on Bombardier's delivery of 100- to 150-seat C Series planes in the United States.

The 32-page complaint challenges Washington's use of anti-dumping and countervailing duties, arguing it goes against WTO rules.

"This sends a signal to the Trump administration that if NAFTA is going to end, and we are going to be treated no better than other countries in the world, then this is the kind of treatment you can expect to receive in return", said Mr. Bown, a former official in the Obama administration and at the World Bank. The filing has potentially strengthened Canada's hand in the NAFTA renegotiations, all the while putting pressure on the the softwood lumber dispute, among others.

Indeed, the Trump administration wasted no time expressing its displeasure.

Canada believes Mr. Trump's threat is serious: One source said Ottawa was ready for the President to pull the plug last fall and was surprised when the United States instead extended the negotiations to March.

With its WTO filing, Canada is forcing the United States to put its logic to the test.

The WTO revealed on Wednesday that Canada had filed a complaint last month accusing the United States of unfairly imposing countervailing and anti-dumping duties, not only on Canadian softwood lumber but also on goods from many other countries.