US Trade Entanglements

Madison’s has word from US Customs Brokers working the border that — upon requesting clarification from Customs and the DoC — it seems that, at least for now, shake and shingles are also captured in the highly punitive US softwood lumber CV and AD duties.

As the bizarre US newsprint trade claim against Canada last week started to come into effect, documents were released this week with details of the Canadian appeal to the World Trade Organization against continued US penalties on forestry products.

Forestry Trade Disputes: North America

As further duty announcements on Canadian newsprint imports into the US are still to come over the next couple of months, there is also a Canada / US supercalendered duty dispute, and a China / US pulp trade dispute.Canada’s 32-page complaint cites US investigations of products from countries around the world, with decisions that date back to 1996.

Anti-dumping measures are a favourite of US protectionists and Canada, in the filing with the World Trade Organization, has asked the international agency to begin consultations to establish a panel to review what Canada considers to be US non-compliance with WTO rules in its imposition of duties on imported goods that are threatening U.S. producers, said the Financial Post Wednesday.

Among other charges, Canada says the US improperly calculates rates and restricts parties from presenting evidence to defend themselves, with a cut-off for supplying information that comes too early in the process.

It also accuses the US International Trade Commission of being biased since disputes over which the body’s six commissioners are evenly divided automatically result in a finding for the US.

Canada cited US abuse of trade rules related to the long-standing and tiresome softwood lumber dispute and to a little-known side conflict over supercalendered paper exported by Irving from New Brunswick.

To support its claims against the US, Canada also listed dozens of non-Canadian instances in which the US allegedly abused WTO rules when it imposed trade-killing tariffs on imports of steel, truck tires, washing machines and other products from China, Taiwan and other nations. While these disputes have nothing to do with Canada, they are listed as evidence of US trade malfeasance, according to the Post.

Under WTO rules, the United States has 60 days to try to settle the complaint, or Canada, which sends 75 percent of its goods exports to the United States, could ask the WTO to adjudicate.