Canada launches NAFTA challenge of 'illegal' USA tariffs on solar panels

Roman Schwartz
July 27, 2018

Following a petition from domestic producers last year complaining of an overwhelming import flood, President Donald Trump in January implemented a four-year tariff, beginning at 30 percent, on solar cells, despite a recommendation from the.

Closure on talks regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would allow incoming Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, known as AMLO, to focus on domestic issues when he takes office on December 1.

Mexico's president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador holds a news conference at his campaign headquarters in Mexico City, Mexico July 23, 2018.

Freeland said the solar panel tariff is a violation of NAFTA rules and was imposed even though the United States International Trade Commission determined imports from Canada were not hurting the USA economy.

NAFTA talks are scheduled to resume Thursday between Canada, Mexico and the U.S. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer hasn't shown an openness to do that, the people said.

This is an all hands on deck approach’ Trudeau responds to Harper’s comments on NAFTA strategy
This is an all hands on deck approach’ Trudeau responds to Harper’s comments on NAFTA strategy

"Canada is using every available avenue, including the mechanisms within the NAFTA, to challenge the Trump administration's protectionism and defend Canadian interests", said Roland Paris, a University of Ottawa worldwide relations expert and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's former foreign affairs adviser. However, The New England Council believes it is crucial that the playing field remain open for businesses, workers, and families across New England, so that they - through no fault of their own - are not disadvantaged by potential retaliatory trade measures or a defunct NAFTA.

The office of Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland had no immediate comment on the letter.

It was a response to a letter Lopez Obrador sent to Trump via a delegation of senior USA officials that visited him in Mexico City on July 13. In more recent months-amid reports that NAFTA talks have grown contentious and that the considering withdrawing altogether - the administration announced tariffs on certain imports that directly affect our neighbors to the immediate north and south.

President-elect Lopez Obrador has said that he wants good relations with the United States.

He said the answer has less to do with traditional perceptions of threats to national security, and "reveals a more general concern about the impact of the Trump administration on Canadian interests, including our economic interests".

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