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Canada goes to WTO over paper duties

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Ottawa has asked the World Trade Organization to look into U.S. countervailing duties on almost $1 billion in annual exports of supercalendered paper from Canada.

International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland said yesterday that the “request for consultations” with the WTO follows a decision back in November asking for a review of the issue by a binational panel under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Consultations are the first step in the WTO dispute settlement mechanism.

The U.S. Commerce Department has announced duties of between 17.87 and 20.18 per cent on Canadian supercalendered paper, a type of uncoated groundwood paper commonly used in newspaper inserts and flyers.

The decision followed an investigation that found American producers had been injured by subsidized imports of supercalendered paper from Canada. At the time, Canada said it believed that U.S. officials “erred in calculating subsidy rates.”

Exports of supercalendered paper from Canada were valued at $959 million in 2014.

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