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Canada turns to WTO over SC paper duties


The federal government has taken a trade complaint about the U.S. tariffs on imports of Canadian supercalendered paper to the World Trade Organization.

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of International Trade, announced that Canada has filed a request for consultations with the World Trade Organization to challenge U.S. countervailing duties on supercalendered paper imported from Canada.
Consultations are the first step in the WTO dispute settlement mechanism.

The government has also challenged the tariff under the rules of NAFTA. “In November 2015, Canada also requested a binational panel under Chapter 19 of the North American Free Trade Agreement in order to review the decision of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision to impose countervailing duties on supercalendered paper,” said Freeland.

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The duties range from 17.87 to 20.18 per cent, and apply to Port Hawkesbury Paper, Irving Paper, Resolute Forest Products, and Catalyst Paper.

According to the federal government, exports of supercalendered paper from Canada to the U.S. were valued at $959 million in 2014.

An article published Mar. 31 by the Reuters news service, said the United States is evaluating the request, but quoted Andrew Bates, spokesman of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), saying: “It is ironic now for Canada to be invoking WTO remedies to address a legitimate U.S. response to massively large Canadian provincial subsidies that caused harm to U.S. companies and workers.”

Bates also told Reuters: “The U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. International Trade Commission have both determined that Canada has been providing export-related subsidies to their supercalendered paper industry to the detriment of American manufacturers and producers.”

For more coverage of the trade dispute, click here.