Monday, October 4, 2010

US, Europe Join Trade Fight over Ontario’s Green Energy Plan

(CB Online – Maria Babbage, The Canadian Press)

Ontario’s green energy ambitions appear to be pitting the country’s biggest trading partners against Canada in a dispute over government subsidies for solar and wind power projects. Both the United States and the European Union want to join consultations over a trade complaint made by Japan to the World Trade Organization, saying they have a significant stake in the discussions.

Even though the dispute is with Ontario, the federal government is ultimately responsible to defend the province because Canada is a signatory to the WTO, said International Trade Minister Peter Van Loan. “We always want to maintain good trading relationships with our major partners, and we always want to make sure that our actions are World Trade Organization compliant,” he said Friday in an interview with The Canadian Press. “In this case, we certainly encourage the Ontario government to take advantage of the consultations phase of this process to seek a satisfactory resolution.”

Earlier this week, both the U.S. and the EU argued in separate letters to the WTO that they have a “substantial trade interest” in the talks. Read more here.