U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has dismissed the complaint, saying "Canada's claims are unfounded and could only lower U.S. confidence that Canada is committed to mutually beneficial trade".
It also might result in a flood of imports from other countries - if the complaint successfully have American tariffs removed - and cost Canada billions of dollars in exports to the US, Lighthizer said.
There have been similar trade disputes between the two countries over lumber and dairy.
"Canada considers the measures relating to USA anti-dumping or countervailing duty investigations, reviews or other proceedings are inconsistent with US obligations under the WTO's Anti-Dumping Agreement, the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 and the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes", the WTO said in a statement.
"Even if Canada succeeded on these groundless claims, other countries would primarily benefit, not Canada". This decision appears even more fraught given the USA administration's critical stance on the WTO; the Trump administration feels as if world trade rules are stacked against them.
"Remedies ensure that trade is fair by counteracting dumping or subsidies that are injuring US workers, farmers, and manufacturers".
Given recent musings that Ottawa expects the Trump administration is about to pull the plug on NAFTA, there is speculation that Canada is either trying to gain leverage ahead of the next round of negotiations, or signaling that, with no free trade agreement in place, it intends to use the WTO to fight its trade battles.
Canadian officials did not make an announcement with the release of the WTO filing but did respond to the newsprint duties.
She says Canada will bring some new, "creative" ideas to the sixth round of NAFTA negotiations later this month in Montreal, in response to some of the "more unconventional" USA proposals. One of the United States' demands in the NAFTA renegotiation is chapter 19's elimination.
Filing the complaint is referred to as a request for consultations.
But it also goes well beyond Canada-U.S. softwood lumber spats, citing alleged global trade breaches by the U.S. against a host of imported products, from Argentine lemon juice to frozen shrimp from India.
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. "But with the Trump administration being relatively new, and because of the protectionist noises we've been hearing from them, it's not at all clear what sort of reaction the USA might have". "It's the same horror show over and over".
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