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Susan Yurkovich, President of the BC Lumber Trade Council, said in a statement: "For decades, the Canadian lumber industry has been subject to unfair and unwarranted duties imposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and has filed appeals under the NAFTA and WTO agreements".

"Canada's claims are unfounded and could only lower USA confidence that Canada is committed to mutually beneficial trade", Lighthizer said in a statement.

In other words, Canada is trying to show that the United States cannot have it both ways; they can't eliminate chapter 19 and disregard the WTO's authority to judge the USA trade remedy system and its decisions. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer hinted at such a prospect when he mentioned in a statement that "Canada's claims are unfounded and could only lower U.S. confidence that Canada is committed to mutually beneficial trade".

An official with the Foreign Affairs Ministry said Ottawa's most recent complaint aims to add weight to Canada's argument that import duties have been levied unfairly.

"For example, if the USA removed the orders listed in Canada's complaint, the flood of imports from China and other countries would negatively impact billions of dollars in Canadian exports to the United States, including almost US$9 billion in exports of steel and aluminum products and more than $2.5 billion in exports of wood and paper products", he said.

The announcement of the case comes ahead of the January 23 start of the next round of trade talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement in Montreal.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the legal action was in response to "unfair and unwarranted" U.S. duties against Canada's softwood lumber producers, and is part of a "broader litigation" to defend its forestry jobs.

He pointed out that the vast majority of cases Canada is complaining about don't even involve Canadian companies.

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In the 32-page complaint, Canada detailed areas where they argue that the United States' tariff investigations and reviews have been inconsistent with its obligations under several WTO agreements.

Critics have accused the Trump administration of wanting to hobble the WTO.

"This has been a chronic problem for us", he said.

Canada's complaint with the WTO is a request for consultation, which formally initiates a dispute in the WTO.

"We continue to engage our American counterparts to encourage them to come to a durable negotiated agreement on softwood lumber", Freeland said.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly threatened to pull out of NAFTA - or at least trigger the withdrawal process to increase pressure on Canada and Mexico.

On Dec. 20, 2017 Canada filed a WTO complaint against the United States concerning its trade practices that Canada says violate global trade law.


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