WTO rules against Canada appeal on renewable energy case

This is not the first time that the province of Ontario has been accused of implementing protectionist measures. Japan and the European Union had also filed complaints to the WTO and scored partial victories in December of last year. However, this ruling did not state that Ontario’s incentives were "illegal because they discriminated against foreign firm," according to the news agency

Ontario had "offered above-market prices for electricity supplied by renewable energy companies but only offered premium to firms who bought most of their equipment locally," the news agency reports.

Reuters added: "A spokeswoman for Canada’s federal trade ministry, Caitlin Workman, said the government would work with the provincial authorities to respond to the WTO appeal ruling."

Ontario is now forced to change these protectionist schemes to bring them into accordance with the WTO. If this does not happen, it will probably have to face trade sanctions, according to Reuters.

Indeed, Ontario’s relationship with the WTO is far from perfect. Japan and the EU had filed complaints and the WTO confirmed that Ontario’s renewable energy FIT breached the organization’s rules on December 22 of 2012.

In both cases, the WTO affirmed the accusations that Ontario’s renewable energy FITs, which require 60% of equipment to come from locally made sources, breached the WTO’s non-discrimination principle enshrined in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMS).

Meanwhile, in other trade case news affecting this north-American country, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) had launched an anti-dumping investigation into silicon metal exported from China on April 22, following a complaint filed by Québec Silicon Limited Partnership of Bécancour.

The CBSA will issue the preliminary determinations by July 22. In addition, the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) will also be conducting a parallel inquiry and will be also responsible for imposing the duties, if they find the charges true.