Canada filed a comprehensive complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO), accusing the United States of violating international trade law. Ottawa has doubts about how Washington imposes anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on foreign goods. The measure comes amid continuing trade disputes between the two countries, including sectors such as dairy production, aircraft and logging.
In the 32-page document, Canada challenges technical details from US trade law, ranging from export control to the way in which disputes are resolved in the six-member US International Trade Commission.
The complaint is based on almost 200 examples of alleged offenses, almost all of which affect third countries such as China, India, Brazil and the European Union (EU). Some of them date back to 1996.
According to Washington, Ottawa’s allegations are unfounded. “Canada’s new request for WTO consultations is a massive and premature attack on the US trade defense system,” said the US Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer.
For its part, Canadian Foreign Minister Christie Freeland said legal action was in response to unjustified US duties against Canadian softwood producers. They are part of a wider initiative to keep jobs in forestry.
The anti-dumping and countervailing duties – penalty tariffs that restrict the import of goods at unjustified prices or subsidies that make them more competitive are a key element of the US trade arsenal and are often used as a means of protecting US trade interests.
After the submission of the complaint on December 20 and the introduction of the members of the WTO with him, a 60-day term for consultation takes place. If, within this period, the matter does not find a solution, this will be sought by a special expert group of the Organization.
The United States has been subject to sharp criticism in recent years for the way it assesses unfair pricing. The country has already lost a number of disputes within the WTO after it was ruled that its methodology is not in line with the provisions of the Organization.