Here are a couple statements by Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur Ross on U.S. - Canada trade issues. First this:
It has been a bad week for U.S.-Canada trade relations. Last Monday, it became apparent that Canada intends to effectively cut off the last dairy products being exported from the United States. Today, in a different matter, the Department of Commerce determined a need to impose countervailing duties of roughly one billion dollars on Canadian softwood lumber exports to us. This is not our idea of a properly functioning Free Trade Agreement.
The point about Canada cutting off dairy products has to do with ultrafiltered milk, I think, but as I understand it, that's a complicated situation of a government program interacting with private sector pricing decisions. What we may see is a WTO claim with elements similar to the famous Canada - Dairy case.
As for the CVDs on lumber, I'm sure the Canadians also feel that this is not their idea of a properly functioning trade agreement. I've always thought that the only way to resolve the lumber subsidies dispute is for the U.S. to bring an SCM Agreement claim against the Canadian lumber programs, and let the WTO DS process weigh in directly. Instead, we get these recurring CVD (and dumping) cases, which then get struck down at the NAFTA and WTO level, without actually resolving anything. A finding that the DOC acted improperly in a particular case does not address the underlying issue.
Speaking of NAFTA, Ross also said this:
One of the peculiarities with NAFTA, one of the very bad features, is that often the panel turns out to be three Canadians and two Americans. So you have this strange situation of foreign nationals deciding whether or not the Commerce Department properly applied its rules
Obviously, he is talking about Chapter 19 here. The question is, does he want to get rid of it entirely, or just change the process for choosing panelists?