A delegate waits for the start of the closing ceremony at the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Dec. 13. The Canadian complaint filed to the World Trade Organization alleges that American use of anti-dumping and countervailing duties violate global trade rules. (NATACHA PISARENKO / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO)

Canada launches global trade complaint against U.S.

Canada launches global trade complaint vs U.S. over use of duties

Canada has launched a wide-ranging attack against U.S. trade practices in a broad international complaint over American use of punitive duties.

It has asked the World Trade Organization to examine the use of duties in the United States, alleging that they violate international law for five reasons. The complaint was filed last month but released Wednesday, with some coincidental timing: the U.S. has just announced duties as high as nine per cent on Canadian paper.

The move follows a series of similar penalties as the U.S. alleges unfair trade practices from Canada in the form of softwood lumber and Bombardier subsidies.

Related: U.S. lumber dispute drives B.C.’s latest trade effort in Asia

The Canadian complaint alleges that American use of anti-dumping and countervailing duties violates global trade rules.

It says the U.S. levies penalties beyond what’s allowed by the WTO, improperly calculates rates and unfairly declares penalties retroactive, while also limiting evidence from outside parties. It also accuses the U.S. of using a trade-panel voting system that’s biased against foreigners.

The 32-page complaint cites dozens of examples unrelated to Canada, including 122 cases where the U.S. imposed duties on foreign countries.

Related: Trump: Canada being “difficult” in NAFTA talks

The disputes over paper, lumber and aerospace are occurring just as the countries prepare to meet in Montreal later this month for a potentially pivotal round of NAFTA negotiations.

“This isn’t going to calm passions in Montreal,” said Canada-U.S. trade lawyer Mark Warner.

The Canadian complaints might have some merit, and Canada is well within its rights to complain to the WTO, Warner said. But he questioned the strategic logic of antagonizing the Trump administration in the midst of NAFTA talks.

He called it surprising that Canada is citing foreign cases in its complaint even as it engages in sensitive negotiations against an administration that already dislikes the WTO.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Major expansion coming to Royal Bay Secondary

Province will build space for 600 more students on same site

Colwood wins Victoria Flower Count for a five-peat

The 43rd annual Flower Count had over three billion blossoms counted in total

West Shore municipalities eye mass notification system

System would send out info via text, email or phone call in an emergency

Moving fire dispatch services will save taxpayers thousands, say mayors

Transition will save about $1.5 million over the next five years

One World Performance and Expo returns to the McPherson Playhouse

The annual event has been presented for nearly 40 years

Vancouver Island’s Best Videos of the Week

A look at some of the best video stories from the past week ending March 16, 2018

Salmon Arm community cheers on Natalie Wilkie as she wins first gold medal

Local skier tops the podium in 7.5km race at the PyeongChang Paralympics

Experts: Society has a role in trying to prevent domestic violence

Experts are speaking out following the murder of a woman and her son in Ontario

Women’s Expo seeks to empower women

Victoria Women’s Expo set for Saturday and Sunday at Pearkes Recreation Centre

Northern lights chasers in Canada discover new type named ‘Steve’

Phenomenon linked to a powerful current created by charged particles in Earth’s upper atmosphere

Progress on fixing Phoenix pay system backlog could be short-lived: Ottawa

Feds have said they won’t try to recover money overpaid until all outstanding issues are fixed

Washington state backs B.C. in pipeline dispute

Governor Jay Inslee says he is ‘allied’ with the province on Trans Mountain expansion projection

Dead rabbits found at Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds stoke concerns about Nanaimo virus

A B.C. wildlife veterinarian says a few of the dead bunnies will be sent for diagnosis next week.

SAY WHAT? Readers weigh in on high-speed rail to U.S.

B.C. to contribute $300,000 to a million-dollar business study on the proposed project

Most Read