Canada takes glossy paper dispute with the U.S. to World Trade Organization

OTTAWA – Canada is turning to the World Trade Organization in its challenge of a trade action by the United States that slaps a series of costly duties on Canadian mills that produce glossy paper.

International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland says Canada has filed a request for consultations with the WTO.

The notice represents the first step in the organization’s dispute-settlement process.

The move follows Canada’s decision in November to request a binational panel review, under Chapter 19 of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Canada turned to NAFTA after the U.S. International Trade Commission decided to impose the duties on paper, which is used for a variety of products including magazines, catalogues, corporate brochures and advertising inserts.

The commission said it was acting because the U.S. paper industry had been hurt by subsidized imports of this kind of paper from Canada.

The U.S. said they would impose duties ranging from 17.87 per cent to 20.18 per cent against Canadian mills.

“Our government is committed to defending the interests of Canadian companies,” Freeland said in a statement.

“We are pursuing this matter in both binational and multilateral bodies to ensure trade practices are fair, allowing businesses to operate on a level playing field.”

The duties affect paper producers in Quebec, New Brunswick and British Columbia.