Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Japan Calls for Tougher WTO Rules on Anti-Dumping

(Forbes – Jonathan Lynn, Reuters)

Japan called on World Trade Organisation members on Wednesday to agree tougher rules on how far states can go to defend themselves against unfairly priced imports, warning excessive retaliation could disrupt commerce.

WTO rules allow members to impose duties on imports that are “dumped” – or sold for less than they cost at home – if they damage businesses in the importing country.

But such anti-dumping investigations and duties are often themselves criticised for being unfair and motivated by protectioniosm, and are the major cause of trade disputes.

Reform of anti-dumping rules was one of Japan's top priorities in the WTO's long-running Doha round, said Hiroyuki Ishige, vice-minister in Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). Japan feared that the gains to the world economy from cutting tariffs to open markets in a Doha deal could be undermined by unwarranted use of anti-dumping measures, he told a meeting of senior WTO negotiators.

“It is not a theoretical concern. It is a real concern. Dumping is sometimes found to exist when there is none,” he said according to a text of his remarks made available to Reuters. Read more here.

U.S., Canada Boost Security Ties


U.S. and Canadian safety chiefs vowed Tuesday to jointly combat organized crime and violent extremism in a bid to boost legal travel and trade across their shared border.

“Close cooperation and coordination between the United States and Canada is critical to the national and economic security of both nations,” US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a statement. Napolitano said she and her Canadian counterpart, Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan, were “committed to working together to combat transnational threats and facilitate lawful travel and trade on both sides of the border.”

The pair met in Washington for the second of their formal biannual meetings, on the heels of three other rounds of talks this year. In an effort to bolster trade and security, they agreed to streamline and harmonize border shipping, create new guidelines for maritime emergency cooperation, enhance efforts against human trafficking and increase cooperation to protect infrastructure and counter violent extremists. Read more here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Freight Forecast Amounts to Mixed Bag

(Fleet Owner)

The latest U.S. freight market outlook issued by FTR Associates presents a mixed bag of projections. Freight volumes should start recovering by early 2010 and could gain significant strength as the year progresses, according to the firm’s economists. Yet much of those gains will depend on the strength of the overall U.S. economic recovery, which is predicted to be only modest at best as consumer spending is expected to remain at lower levels.

“We seem to be exiting the ‘Great Recession’ but it’s not clear yet if that exit is leading to more demand for freight,” said Eric Starks, FTR president, during a webinar conducted by the firm today on the state of the U.S. freight market.

FTR is forecasting a modest U.S. economic recovery through 2010. The firm sees U.S. gross domestic product [GDP] rising 4.5% in the first two quarters but then backsliding to 3.5% to 4% in the second half of the year. Freight volumes are expected to outperform GDP, however. They will rise 4% by the second quarter, increase to 5.5% in the third quarter, and top out at 7.7% in the fourth quarter of 2010 as inventories – currently at historically low levels – are replenished. Read more here.

Labeling Organic? Think Again

(Inside Cosmeceuticals)

It looks like it may be time for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to step in and set some guidelines on organic labeling for personal care products. The National Organic Standards Board is requesting USDA apply the same policing to personal care labels claiming “organic” as they do for food because many consumers are getting confused in the sea of misuse as they peruse the personal care aisle.

Currently, companies are able to claim “organic” without being USDA certified. With a little reform, personal care products could only legally tout organic on their label if they went through the process of being certified. Many in the industry are pushing for this smack down as mislabeling downplays the impact “organic” has on marketing and quality.

New Bill Would Expand, Extend Trade Preference Programs

(World Trade Interactive)

Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., introduced last week the New Partnership for Trade Development Act of 2009 (H.R. 4101) to strengthen and improve the African Growth and Opportunity Act, protect the trade interests of AGOA countries in apparel categories where they are particularly competitive, and extend similar trade benefits to lesser-developed countries outside of Africa. According to press sources, this bill includes the following provisions.

• expands duty-free, quota-free access to all products from AGOA beneficiaries as well as LDCs outside of Africa

• establishes a single rule of origin for AGOA, the Generalized System of Preferences and the DF/QF treatment provided to LDCs

• extends AGOA and GSP as far as 2019 and makes permanent benefits to AGOA LDCs

• extends AGOA’s third-country fabric rule from Sept. 30, 2012, to Sept. 30, 2015

• establishes a 10-year limit on the amount of certain apparel (including trousers and knit shirts and blouses) imported from Bangladesh and Cambodia that could benefit from DF/QF treatment but allows this limit to increase as much as 10% each year if certain conditions are met regarding the use of inputs originating in other developing countries or nations that have implemented a free trade agreement with the U.S.

• requires determinations of GSP eligibility for advanced developing countries to include consideration of the extent those countries offer preferential access to their markets to LDCs

Source document available here.

Program to Help Truckers Attracts Drug Smugglers

(Christopher Sherman — Associated Press)

A U.S. program [C-TPAT] that offers trusted trucking companies speedy passage across American borders has begun attracting just the sort of customers who place a premium on avoiding inspections: Mexican drug smugglers.

Most trucks enrolled in the program pause at the border for just 20 seconds before entering the United States. And nine out of 10 of them do so without anyone looking at their cargo.

But among the small fraction of trucks that are inspected, authorities have found multiple loads of contraband, including eight tons of marijuana seized during one week in April.

Some experts now question whether the program makes sense in an environment where drug traffickers are willing to do almost anything to smuggle their shipments into the U.S. Read more here.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

CrossTalk: Handling the Dragon

(Russian TV)

China has arrived in a big way. Peter Lavelle asks his guests whether the world should embrace China’s rising or whether we should expect a major reordering of the international system.

Precautionary Labelling of Priority Allergens


Health Canada's Consultation workbook on Precautionary Labelling of Priority Allergens in Prepackaged Foods is now available online and can be completed and submitted until February 10, 2010. Click here to start the “Consultation Workbook”.

Health Canada Consulting on Policy Options for Precautionary Labelling of Priority Allergens on Pre-Packaged Foods is available here and Consultation on Precautionary Labelling of Food Allergens is available here.

Brazil Emerging Market for Canada

(Canadian Sailings – Kathlyn Horibe)

Companies encouraged to find niche opportunities, local partners

Doing business in Brazil requires local partners who understand the country’s culture and bureaucracy. That was one of the main messages delivered at a seminar on Brazil-Canada trade hosted earlier this year by the Quebec chapter of I.E.Canada in collaboration with the Brazil-Canada Chamber of Commerce.

“You need partners and introductions to them,” said Johane Séguin of Export Development Canada. “Do your homework. There’s lots to gain.” Ms. Séguin is senior advisor, Latin America, at EDC, which provides Canadian exporters with financing, insurance and bonding services as well as foreign market expertise.

“Local presence is essential,” said David Verbiwski, former consul of the Consulate General of Canada in São Paulo. “You can’t do it without a local partner. It takes people stopping by to see your customers on a regular basis and speaking to them in their own language. Executives (from head office) should also get down there at least once a year to visit customers. Business is built not only on quality and price but also on relationships.” Read the complete article here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Free Benchmark Study from RILA and American Shipper

(American Shipper)

For a limited time you can download a copy of the International Transportation Management Systems Benchmark Study produced by American Shipper and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) free by going here.

The study demonstrates how you can successfully manage international transportation by examining successful companies, their technology, business practices, and emerging trends.

Download your copy now while it is available at no charge.

WTO Agrees to Rule on Legality of U.S. Food-Labeling Policies

(Bloomberg – Jennifer M. Freedman)

World Trade Organization judges agreed to decide whether U.S. country-of-origin labeling provisions violate global trade rules and unfairly harm agricultural trade, as Canada and Mexico allege. The U.S. requires food processors to identify the countries where cattle, hogs and some fresh produce originate. Canada and Mexico say the provisions impose unfair and unnecessary costs on their exports, reducing their competitiveness. […]

The Country of Origin Labeling Legislation, or COOL, has caused many U.S. pork-processing companies to stop buying animals born in Canada and has cost the country’s pork industry millions of dollars, according to the Canadian Pork Council, a federation of nine provincial pork industry associations. COOL has cost Canadian cattle producers more than C$250 million in lower beef prices and higher expenses, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association says. Read more here.

Export Compliance: Canada and the United States – Two-day Intensive Course

(IE Canada)

December 3-4, 2009
Heenan Blaikie Conference Facility
Bay Adelaide Centre, 333 Bay St suite 2900,

For more information use the following links for the brochure and registration form.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

U.S. Food Safety Likely to Get Overhaul in 2010


A U.S. Senate committee voted unanimously on Wednesday to increase government oversight of food safety but the first significant overhaul in 50 years may not happen until 2010.

Pressure to overhaul the food safety system has grown following several high-profile outbreaks involving lettuce, peppers, peanuts and spinach since 2006 that have sickened thousands and killed several.

However, the full Senate probably won’t vote on the bill until 2010 as Congress is currently mired in debate about overhauling the U.S. healthcare system, said Tom Harkin, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. "I really, honestly, I just don’t see how we’ll get to it before Christmas," Harkin said of the food safety bill.

The Senate bill would expand U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight of the food supply and shift its focus toward preventing, rather than reacting, to foodborne outbreaks. FDA would have the power to order recalls, increase inspection rates and require all facilities to have a food safety plan. Read more here.

Recession’s Impact Varies by Industry

(Export Development Canada – Peter G. Hall)

A search for Canadian exporters unaffected by the global recession would need a pretty big magnifying glass. Exports have been dented across the industrial spectrum – but the impact has been unequal. Which industries are expected to fare best and worst over the near-term horizon?

Canada’s energy exporters will take the biggest hit in 2009. Prices are a key factor, as the average spot rates for crude oil, natural gas and coal this year are well below 2008 levels. Volume shipments have also been impacted by lower global demand. Technological advances have unleashed large quantities of US shale gas into the North American market, increasing inventories and dampening US demand for Canadian gas. Uncertainty in the global coal market has led to deferral of planned Canadian mine expansions, stunting the near-term export forecast. After falling 43% this year, weak global activity will hold growth in 2010 to just 9%, leaving foreign sales well below peak levels. […]

As unlikely as it may seem, topping the growth charts next year is the auto sector. Volumes will get a needed boost from triple-shift production at CAMI in Ingersoll, increased production of Toyota’s RAV4 in Woodstock and shipments of Oshawa’s hot-selling Camaros. A rebound of parts exports will also help to lift total sector shipments up 16% in 2010. This is good news, but the sector still remains stressed, as 2010 sales levels will still be 30% below what was achieved in 2007. With a few exceptions, the remaining industries will generally follow the national pattern – significant decline this year, followed by a modest rebound that leaves activity levels well below the previous peak.

Read more or watch the video here.

OECD Forecast Highlights

(OECD via The Globe & Mail)


• The contraction that began in the last quarter of 2008 seems to have ended in the second half of 2009. External demand and domestic investment now appear to be rebounding, but they also pose the greatest risks to the recovery’s sustainability.

• Unemployment is projected to keep rising until the end of 2009 and underlying disinflation to continue for several more quarters under the weight of persistent slack.

• The Bank of Canada should hold the policy rate at its current near-zero level until the end of June 2010, as it has committed, and probably beyond.

• Given the time required to roll out fiscal stimulus and the nascent recovery, additional expansionary measures, including extending the window of eligibility for extraordinary unemployment benefits, should be resisted. Instead, governments should be preparing detailed and credible medium-term fiscal consolidation plans to be announced soon and be implemented when the recovery is firmly underway.

Non-OECD countries

• The upturn in the major non-OECD countries, especially in Asia and particularly in China, is now a well established source of strength for the more feeble OECD recovery.

• The strength of the upturn reflects both the limited direct exposure to the financial origins of the crisis and the strong policy stimulus these countries were in a position to apply.

• The major policy issue in many of these countries is now becoming one of withdrawal of stimulus so as to avoid igniting asset or general price inflation.

United States

• The U.S. economy is recovering on the back of policy stimulus, improving financial conditions, non-OECD demand growth, normalisation of stockbuilding and stabilisation of the housing market.

• With rapid labour shedding in the downturn, employment should respond quickly to economic activity and unemployment may peak in the first half of 2010.

Euro Area

• The euro area economy will benefit from many of the same growth-drivers as the United States.

• But work-sharing schemes which cushioned employment in the downturn may also weaken the employment intensity of growth going forward.

• With unemployment not set to peak before the end of 2010 or the beginning of 2011, household confidence is likely to be weak and sap the strength of the recovery.


• Japan is well positioned to benefit from strong growth in the rest of Asia but, fiscal stimulus notwithstanding, weakness on the domestic side will remain a drag on growth.

• With activity insufficient to materially reduce unemployment, deflation is set to linger.

OECD Economic Outlook No. 86, November 2009: Country summaries and a special chapter on the Automobile industry are on the OECD website.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Free Trade with India Gets a Boost

(Embassy – Laura Payton)

It may have taken him almost four years to set foot in India, but Prime Minister Stephen Harper leaves today having bolstered Canada's image in the Asian giant and with promises to start moving ahead on comprehensive trade talks.

However, a highly anticipated nuclear co-operation agreement – which some speculated would be finalized during the prime minister's visit following the weekend's Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation meeting – remains elusive.

Yesterday, Mr. Harper and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh oversaw the signing of two memoranda of understanding.

The first establishes a joint study group that will start working toward a comprehensive economic partnership agreement – the same advanced free trade-style agreement currently being negotiated between Canada and the European Union. It will encompass not just free trade but movement of labour and services as well.

Last year, business executives from both countries called on their respective governments to undertake free trade talks. In a statement yesterday, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives – which has led earlier calls on the issue – praised the decision to move forward.

"Today's establishment of the Joint Study Group sends a clear signal that our two countries are committed to an ambitious agenda of economic co-operation," said CCCE chief Thomas D'Aquino.

Peter Sutherland, a former Canadian high commissioner in India and deputy vice-chair of the Canada-India Business Council, says any step in the direction of a free trade agreement is progress, and that it underscores the interest and resolve of both governments to expand bilateral trade and investment. Read more here.

Canada and Israel to Begin Negotiations on a Mutual Recognition Agreement for Telecommunications Equipment

(Industry Canada)

The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, today [Wednesday] announced an agreement with Israel to begin negotiations on a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) to facilitate the importing and exporting of telecommunications equipment. The announcement followed discussions between Minister Clement and the Honourable Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, Israeli Minister of Industry, Trade and Labour.

"An MRA will broaden trade opportunities for Canada's telecommunications industry and provide access to Israel's latest communications technology for Canadian industry and consumers," said Minister Clement. "I look forward to having Canadian and Israeli officials meet to begin negotiating the MRA for telecommunications equipment."

MRAs facilitate trade by streamlining the conformity assessment procedures for a wide range of telecommunications equipment. An MRA would allow Canada and Israel to accept each other's test results and, eventually, certificates of compliance.

A reduced regulatory burden and increased opportunities for Canadian business are among the benefits of existing MRAs with the European Community, the European Free Trade Area countries, Switzerland, members of the Organization of American States and members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

Industry Canada officials will travel to Israel early in 2010 to begin negotiating the MRA.

Canada Must Move Now to Overcome Buy American Provisions, Analyst Says

( – Sheldon Alberts, Canwest News Service)

U.S. entering 3-month 'peak' when majority of stimulus will be awarded

The Harper government's battle to win Canada an exemption to controversial Buy American provisions in the U.S. stimulus package isn't yet lost – but it's nearing the point when victory might soon be meaningless to Canadian companies. According to the Council of State Governments, the U.S. is just now entering a three-month "peak" period in which the vast majority of about $300 billion in stimulus-funded infrastructure contracts will be awarded.

"For our Canadian partners who are really eager to get an agreement worked out (on Buy American), the horse hasn't left the barn. It's not too late," said Chris Whatley, director of the council's office in Washington. "We are really at crunch time. The good thing is, if you jump in quickly, you haven't missed the boat. But if you wait much longer, you will have."

The Canadian government opened negotiations last month with the Obama administration, seeking changes to Buy American rules that mandate only U.S.-produced steel, iron and manufactured goods be used in state and municipal projects receiving funding from the $787-billion stimulus legislation.

Ottawa has offered a deal to provide American firms greater access to provincial and city procurement in Canada, in exchange for allowing Canadian companies to bid on contracts for stimulus-funded state and municipal projects in the U.S.

International Trade Minister Stockwell Day raised the issue briefly with President Barack Obama at last weekend's APEC summit in Singapore. He said negotiations were "moving in the right direction," but a deal "was not going to happen overnight." Read more here.

Trimming Excess Packaging Could Bring 10% Payoff

(DC Velocity – Peter Bradley)

Packaging may not be the first place logistics professionals look when searching for savings opportunities. Maybe it should.

When Jack Ampuja gives a talk on packaging, he brings along a visual aid: a shipping carton he received that's big enough to hold its contents several times over. His point is one familiar to most logistics professionals: Businesses ship a lot of air, driving up costs in a number of ways.

Ampuja, who is president and CEO of the consultancy Supply Chain Optimizers, says more often than not, the problem is simply lack of awareness. Companies typically select packaging based on marketing or other considerations without giving much thought to the supply chain implications, he says. As a result, they end up using more packaging than they need, creating enormous waste and unnecessary expense. He advocates with some passion that logistics professionals should become more involved in decisions about the packages their companies use to ship freight. Read more here.

Procurement Exemption Will Backfire

(Video: CBC/RMR • Story: Frances Russell — Winnipeg Free Press)

Taxpayers’ dollars should be used to create and support taxpayers’ jobs, not export them to another country.

At least that’s what U.S. governments believe. But Canada’s federal and provincial governments are so frantic to get exemptions from Buy American laws governing the massive U.S. economic stimulus package that they are preparing to open up $21 billion in provincial procurement and perhaps as much as $84 billion in municipal procurement — and who knows how many jobs — to U.S. suppliers in return for a virtually meaningless trade concession.

So says the author of a new research paper from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Political economist and CCPA senior researcher Scott Sinclair says the U.S. has cleverly steered the bilateral talks away from U.S. Buy American laws towards what President Barack Obama has called a “multilateral solution.” Obama says Canada can get in on the U.S. stimulus gravy train by following its example and signing up provinces and local governments to the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Government Procurement (AGP.)

But U.S. federal, state and municipal governments have exempted so many Buy American policies from AGP commitments, they’re almost a dead letter. Federal spending on highways, mass transit, municipal infrastructure and utility spending already are exempt. Thirteen states have no AGP commitments. Many more exclude steel, motor vehicles, coal and printing. All U.S. municipal procurement is protected. Finally, the U.S. federal government itself has carved out the bulk of its federal stimulus spending, leaving it free to apply its buy-local preferences. Read more here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Canada, India Sign Agreements to Boost Energy, Economic Ties


Canada and India signed agreements to enhance cooperation in energy and examine a free trade pact to boost economic ties between the two nations.

The accords were signed following talks between Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh in New Delhi today.

India, which this year signed free trade pacts with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and South Korea, is forging new alliances to diversify its export markets. The U.S., Europe and Japan account for 60 percent of India’s merchandise exports. Harper and Singh said they hope to increase bilateral trade to $15 billion a year within the next five years from about $5 billion now. Read more here.

WCO Sees SAFE Cargo Standards Progress


Countries are making steady progress towards implementing the World Customs Organization’s international guidelines for supply chain security, said Gareth Lewis, a technical officer at the Brussels-based body, at a customs forum in Seattle early last month.

A survey commissioned by the WCO and conducted by U.K.-based Crown Agents found that 45 percent of 29 sample nations reviewed had nearly completed steps to implement the SAFE Framework’s information technology component for security and trade facilitation standards. Among the 29 countries are the top 10 exporters to the United States, which has led the charge since 9/11 to push security processes overseas prior to cargo departure rather than at time of import.

SAFE, which went into effect in 2005, is an effort by customs administrations to harmonize the collection and use of advance, electronic cargo information, implement consistent risk management techniques for identifying ocean containers with suspect histories, and use high-tech equipment to inspect high-risk boxes prior to export. Read more here.

Canada Introduces Implementing Legislation for Free Trade Agreement with Jordan


The Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, on behalf of the Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today introduced legislation to implement the Canada-Jordan free trade agreement (FTA) and related agreements on labour cooperation and the environment.

“Farmers know that our government is working hard to open up markets around the world so that they can sell more products to more customers,” said Minister Ritz. “We are building a strong relationship between Canada and Jordan, and today’s announcement will boost the bottom line for Canadian farm families.”

“The Canada-Jordan FTA, once implemented, will open doors to this growing economy and give Canada a foothold in the broader Middle East and North African market,” said Minister Day. Read more here.

Shippers Balk at Customs Bureaucracy

(Journal of Commerce)

Layers of administrative review stall trade facilitation, says AAEI The American Association of Exporters and Importers is complaining that layers of bureaucracy in Customs and Border Protection’s Office of International Trade are causing importers unnecessary delays in getting rulings and settlement offers from the Office of Regulations and Rulings.

OR&R, which had been an independent Customs division, was absorbed into OIT after Congress authorized its creation in the SAFE Port Act of 2006. In a letter on Friday to Acting Commissioner Jayson Ahern, AAEI charged that the organizational change has led to delays, because OR&R determinations are subjected to OIT management review.

Previously importers received ruling letters directly from OR&R. The rulings are Customs’ official determinations on the classification of imported goods, which importers use as part of their compliance programs. Read more here.

U.S. Pledges to Engage in Trans-Pacific Partnership Talks

(World Trade Interactive)

As expected, President Obama has provided few details about his trade policy toward Asia during an ongoing trip in which he has stressed that the U.S. intends to remain fully engaged in the region. Obama said the U.S. will be “engaging with the Trans-Pacific Partnership countries with the goal of shaping a regional agreement that will have broad-based membership and the high standards worthy of a 21st century trade agreement.” With respect to the pending free trade agreement with South Korea, he said only that the U.S. will “work through the issues necessary to move forward.”

The Bush administration announced in September 2008 that it would launch talks on joining the TPP, an existing free trade agreement among New Zealand, Chile, Singapore and Brunei. Shortly after taking office, however, the Obama administration put that decision on hold pending a more comprehensive review of U.S. trade policy. Numerous members of Congress and trade associations have pressed the administration since then to re-engage in the TPP talks on the grounds that Asia represents a key export market for U.S. goods and services and that countries in the region are pursuing a wide variety of trade liberalization efforts that largely exclude the U.S. Read more here.

China, US Vow to Address Trade Disputes

(Video: VOA News • Story: AFP)

China and the United States on Tuesday pledged to resolve their lingering trade disputes and combat protectionism, as visiting US President Barack Obama called on Beijing to let the yuan rise.

Comments by Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao to reporters after their summit however gave no further specifics on how the two economic giants planned to defuse mounting trade rancour marked by a series of tit-for-tat actions.

The two sides said in a joint statement that they “recognise the importance of open trade and investment to their domestic economies and to the global economy, and are committed to jointly fight protectionism”.

Hu said they would “continue to have consultations on an equal footing to properly resolve economic and trade frictions in a joint effort to uphold the sound and steady growth of their business ties and trade.” Read more here.

OTA Encouraged by HST Change


Ontario Trucking Association president David Bradley welcomed the introduction in the Ontario Legislature of legislation enacting the government’s proposed new harmonized tax system.

Bradley was particularly pleased to note that according to the government's background material, as part of the transition to the HST and wind-down of the RST, the Multi-Jurisdictional Tax (MJVT) will also be wound down and that under the transition rules the MJVT would simply no longer apply to renewals or new registrations under the IRP on or after July 1, 2010.

“For the Ontario trucking industry the fact that the government has moved forward on its budget commitment to harmonize the provincial sales tax with the federal goods and services tax starting next year is extremely good news,” Bradley said. “OTA has been seeking this announcement for a number of years and it’s been a key recommendation of virtually every OTA pre-budget submission this decade. The introduction of the legislation today is great news for the industry.” Read more here.

IMF Head Eyes Global Currency Change


The imperative of greater global currency stability means the world can no longer rely, as it has done since the end of the gold standard, on a currency issued by a single country, the head of the IMF said on Tuesday.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, restated his view that a new global currency might evolve out of the special drawing right, the Fund's in-house unit of account.

“That probably has to be a basket,” Mr. Strauss-Kahn said of the eventual replacement for the dollar. “In a globalized world there is no domestic solution,” he told a forum. Read more here.

Monday, November 16, 2009

OTA Asks Michigan DOT to Reconsider Blue Water Bridge Toll Hikes


The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is threatening to increase tolls for northbound commercial vehicles crossing the Blue Water Bridge from US$1.75 per axle to US$3.25/axle. The proposed toll increase is not sitting well with the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) which is lobbying MDOT to reconsider.

“OTA recognizes the need for infrastructure improvement at the Blue Water Bridge. However, a more incremental cost recovery system that allows for adequate pre-planning plan is a more palatable approach and would visit less disruption and hardship on all concerned than a one-time massive hit,” said OTA president David Bradley.

The OTA acknowledged that toll increases have not increased at the Blue Water Bridge since 1997 and that the tolls collected on the Canadian side are higher than in the US. However, Bradley said “These facts are self-evident but timing and approach are all wrong. OTA considers it entirely unreasonable and inappropriate that an 85% price hike would be imposed in one fell swoop, with such short notice. Given the current economic times, and the stress that has already been imposed on Michigan-Ontario trade increases of this magnitude are untimely to say the least.”

The OTA pointed out to the MDOT that over 80% of Michigan’s exports to Canada move by truck and that the increase could add US$8 million per year in transportation costs to the state’s exports. Read more here.

Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada

(Government of Canada)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued the following statement at the close of the 2009 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Summit:

“While Canada’s economy was built through trans-Atlantic trade, our future prosperity will increasingly depend on our ties to the Pacific. The region is home to some of the world’s most dynamic and fastest growing economies.

“Our discussions underscored the importance of continued cooperation on Canada’s number one priority – responding to the global economic downturn.

“Since last year’s Summit, we have focussed on resisting protectionism, reforming the global financial system and stimulating our economies, which have helped set the stage for recovery.

“Leaders also met and agreed on the need to keep focussed on the problem of climate change. Although we do not expect to get a legally binding agreement, progress can still be made at Copenhagen.

“I met with several fellow leaders, including Prime Ministers Key of New Zealand, Hatoyama of Japan and Rudd of Australia as well as Presidents Obama of the United States, Tri?t of Vietnam and Medvedev of Russia.
“Looking forward, we will work closely with South Korea to deliver successful G-20 Summits in 2010 that follow up on commitments made in Pittsburgh, London and Washington.”

Changes in Processing U.S. Meat Shipments at the Border


Memorandum to Importers/Brokers/Carriers/Inspection Facility Operators/Associations

Subject: Discontinuation of the practice of advance notification of inspection of U.S. meat imports.

The following is to inform you that as of January 4, 2010, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will discontinue the practice of providing advance notification of inspection of US meat imports. This change in procedure is in line with the Government of Canada Food Safety Action Plan. Canada has full confidence in the safety of food imported from the USA. This change will make Canada’s food safety system stronger and will move Canada a step closer to full harmonization with US meat import controls

All meat shipments from the USA are inspected and certified by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) authorities prior to exportation to Canada. Importers/Brokers can submit their import requests to the CFIA Import Service Centres (ISC) for documentation review up to 72 hours in advance of the actual shipment arrival. This procedure will continue to apply.

Starting January 4, 2010, when a meat shipment is presented for electronic release, the CFIA Import Service Centre (ISC) will transmit a message to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) indicating if the shipment has been selected for an inland CFIA inspection. If the shipment is identified as a “skip lot” it will be allowed to proceed to its manifested destination.

It should be noted that ALL meat shipments that are presented on a paper release will be directed to report to a CFIA approved facility inland for inspection.

If an inland CFIA inspection is required, the CBSA Border Services Officer (BSO) at the Primary Inspection Line (PIL) will affix a special CFIA stamp (similar to the attached specimen) on the import documentation which will serve as notice to the Carrier to report inland for CFIA inspection.

As all US meat shipments must be released by the CBSA at the border, the BSO will continue to stamp the import documents with a customs release stamp.

The onus will be on Importers/Brokers to ensure that their Carriers are aware of this new procedure and that they know where to report in the event that their shipment has been selected for CFIA inspection. The Importers/Brokers are to provide the Carriers with the location and directions to the meat inspection facility that has been pre-selected by the importer prior to crossing the border.

Should you have questions regarding these new procedures, contact a CFIA Import Service Centre

South Korea to Adopt Global Carbon Labelling Standard by 2011


South Korea is to adopt an international standard for carbon labelling by 2011 in a bid to have the green merits of its export goods recognised by a global criterion. The UK government-backed Carbon Trust yesterday said it is working with the environmental labelling body Korean Environmental Industry and Technology Institute (KEITI) to harmonise the country’s existing carbon footprinting scheme with its Carbon Reduction Label system.

Under the Carbon Trust system, products on store shelves display the amount of carbon dioxide emitted during their entire life cycle, from manufacture through to disposal. Manufacturers then have to commit to reduce that carbon footprint on a year-by-year basis if they want to continue to carry the label.

South Korea in February launched a KEITI-led carbon labelling program after conducting a nine-month trial. It now has 24 domestic companies producing carbon-labelled products. Read more here.

IMF Calls on Asian Countries to Appreciate Their Currencies


Asia is leading the world out of the worst economic crisis in six decades and should play a “leadership role” in policy makers’ effort to achieve a new global growth model, Strauss- Kahn said in a speech on Friday at the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

“Based on our analysis, many Asian currencies are still undervalued related to those of their major trading partners, while the Euro is somewhat overvalued on this basis,” Strauss- Kahn said. “The region should not resist a gradual appreciation of its exchange rates, which I consider an important prerequisite for long-term rebalancing.”

Growth in Asia will accelerate to 5.75% next year, almost twice the pace of global economic expansion, the IMF estimates. Still, with China’s fixed-rate policy, the Yuan has followed the dollar’s 14% decline in the past year against the currencies of six major trading partners, prompting central banks in India, South Korea, Thailand and Taiwan to accelerate dollar purchases to curb currency appreciation.

Policy makers are seeking to ensure the return to economic growth is more balanced. Emerging Asian economies need to boost domestic demand, while the region’s nations would benefit from increased intra-regional trade that could reduce their dependence on other parts of the world, Strauss-Kahn said. Read more here.


China’s Commerce Ministry: Call For Yuan Appreciation Unfair

(RTT News)

The Chinese yuan exchange rate should be kept stable, Commerce Ministry spokesman Yao Jian told reporters on Monday. He said the Chinese policy is helping the global recovery and it is unfair to urge one nation to appreciate their currency as other currencies weaken.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission Liu Mingkang said in Beijing that low interest rates in the U.S. and a weak dollar affected global asset prices and generated speculation. Also, the official said, it developed risks to global economic recovery, especially in emerging-market economies. Read more here.

Harper Promotes Trade Links to India

(CBC News)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper pitched Canada as a potential sales partner to business leaders in India on Monday, the first day of his whirlwind three-day tour of the South Asian economic powerhouse.

Harper told an audience of Indian business investors at a hotel in Mumbai that the combined GDP of the two countries is on its way to $4 trillion, and yet two-way trade is just $5 billion.

That represents a lot of untapped business potential, he said.

Harper’s efforts to strengthen economic ties with India are a recognition of India’s rising importance as one of the world’s fast-growing economies.

“The South Asian tiger has awoken and the world is standing in awe,” he told the business leaders. Read more here.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Canadians Cry Foul as Buy American Policy Hits Home

(Toronto Star)

U.S. firms do thriving business in Canada as Obama policy shuts us out, owners say

As the poster boy for Buy American, steel industry executive Dan DiMicco is a leader in the campaign that is keeping Canadian companies from bidding on highly valuable urban renewal projects south of the border. But his North Carolina-based corporate giant continues to sell millions of dollars of structural steel in Canada every year with no problem.

The advantage enjoyed by Nucor Corp. and other huge U.S. companies has Canadian manufacturers up in arms, saying they are being barred from bidding on contracts in the U.S. even as American companies with free access to the Canadian market are beating them out for business here at home.

Their complaints have grown all the more urgent as efforts by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government to win an exemption for Canadian firms from Buy American in the U.S. have bogged down at the negotiating table.

John Hayward, who runs an industrial equipment plant in Halton Hills, said U.S. President Barack Obama talks about the importance of free trade “but the actions just aren’t matching up with the words. Read more here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

UPS vs. FEDEX: Ultimate Whiteboard Remix

(Reason TV)

You may have heard the UPS is in quite the political fight with FEDEX. Though both are package-delivery companies, they’re governed by totally different federal labor rules. As a result, UPS’s workforce is much more heavily unionized than FEDEX’s—and more than twice as expensive.

So now UPS is trying to get FEDEX reclassified under federal law as a way of screwing a competitor. That’s horrendous, but it also makes a sick kind of business sense. And it also reveals the real villain: A government that is big enough to absolutely, positively guarantee it can screw any business. Overnight.

“UPS Vs. FEDEX” was produced by Meredith Bragg and Nick Gillespie (who also hosts).

Canada U.S Trade Deficits: Contrasting Stories

International Trade Deficit Narrows to $927M in September

(Ottawa Business Journal)

Canada's international trade deficit narrowed to $927 million in September from $1.99 billion, amid stronger export numbers and a slight decline in imports, although the positive news was tempered by the fact that the country's trade surplus with the United States also shrank.

The Statistics Canada report showed exports grew 3.5 per cent to $30.26 billion, while imports edged down 0.1 per cent to $31.18 billion.

Export volumes increased 4.5 per cent, as Canada's outward-bound trade continued rebounding after reaching a low point in May 2009. Exports have increased in three of the past four months, the report added, following a downward trend that began in July 2008.

U.S. Trade Gap Widens as Imports Outpace Exports

(Wall Street Journal)

The U.S. trade deficit widened more than expected in September while import prices rose less than forecast, in line with the Federal Reserve's view that the economy is recovering slowly with inflation staying low.

The trade deficit rose 18.2% to $36.5 billion in September as rising imports, especially for oil, continued to offset export gains. The trade gap with China reached its highest level in nearly a year. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had expected the September deficit would widen to just $32 billion.

U.S. exports in September rose 2.9% to $132.0 billion from $128.30 billion the previous month, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Imports rose twice as much, growing 5.8% to $168.4 billion from $159.1 billion. Read more here.

Opinion: America Leaves Itself Behind

(Wall Street Journal)

A world of trade deals without the U.S.

President Obama heads for Asia this week to talk about U.S. economic recovery and reform, and one theme that we expect he'll hear from Asian leaders is this: America is leaving itself behind as the rest of the world tries to liberalize trade.

The numbers tell the story. At least 266 bilateral or regional trade deals are in force, according to the World Trade Organization, and there are roughly 100 more of which the WTO has not yet been formally informed. The U.S. is a party to only five of the 64 trade pacts that have taken effect since 2005 – with Australia, Morocco, Bahrain, Oman and Peru.

In contrast, eight of those 64 deals involve the European Union (plus a round of EU expansion) and Japan has signed nine. Overall the U.S. has trade deals with only 17 countries including Canada and Mexico under Nafta. The EU has struck 29 deals on trade ranging from customs unions to larger free-trade agreements with 40 economies.

Of the deals the WTO knows about, an average of seven took effect each year in the five years after the WTO's founding in 1995. For 2004-2008, the annual average rose to 15. Another 12 have kicked in this year. New Zealand and Malaysia signed a pact last week, for instance, and China and India are in talks. Oh, and there's also the newly signed EU-Korea trade deal, and the one signed last year between Canada and Colombia.

These deals are proliferating for many reasons. Some countries are losing patience with the Doha round of global trade talks that has dragged on for eight years. Others view bilateral deals as a way of liberalizing beyond what Doha would accomplish – including areas like intellectual-property protection. These deals can also firm up alliances or build political influence, which is one reason China is aggressively pursuing trade deals with its neighbors. Read more here.

Chinese Canola Decision Still Presents Problems


The Canola Council of Canada is disappointed with China's decision to restrict Canadian canola seed sales.

Several weeks ago, the Chinese announced they would not accept Canadian canola unless it is certified as free of the blackleg fungus. Then on Tuesday, the Chinese made some concessions, saying they would still accept Canadian canola, but not at ports in 19 provinces where canola is grown.

The Canola Council estimates this will limit canola export sales to roughly 30% of what they have been in the past.

China was Canada's top canola seed market last year, importing 2.87 million tonnes.
Prime Minister Harper is headed to China in December, and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz has says this dispute will be one of Harper's priorities.

Industry Minister Clement to Explore Improved Trade Relations During Visit to Israel

(Industry Canada)

The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, will arrive in Tel Aviv tomorrow [Saturday] to begin five days of meetings that will focus on Canada–Israel trade relations and developments in the field of water technologies.

“This year marks the 60th anniversary of relations between our two countries and the 12th anniversary of the Canada–Israel Free Trade Agreement,” said Minister Clement. “I am hoping that our visit may lead to even closer cooperation and serve to demonstrate to companies here that Canada is a good place to do business.”

One of the highlights of the trip will be the Minister’s attendance at the International Water Technologies, Renewable Energy and Environmental Control Exhibition (WATEC). The Minister is scheduled to address WATEC on the significant initiatives Canada has undertaken, both domestically and internationally, in the field of water technologies. Read more here.

Calais Border Crossing Opens Monday

(Sharon Kiley Mack — Bangor Daily News)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection will be opening the new Calais-St. Stephen border crossing for international traffic at 9 a.m. Monday, Nov. 16, according to spokesman Ted Woo.

The 50-acre, $120 million project took just more than a year and a half to complete.

In New Brunswick, the roadway improvements by New Brunswick Department of Transportation are estimated at $53 million, while the new customs facility on the Canadian side of the border cost another $13 million. The cost of the new $10 million bridge across the St. Croix River is being shared equally by New Brunswick and Maine.

The new U.S. border facility cost $40 million and road improvements in the nearby Calais Industrial Park and along Route 1 in Calais totaled another $11 million. Read more here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Path to Recovery Challenging for Canada’s Regions

(Export Development Canada – Peter G. Hall)

This year has already made history. As far back as the records go, Canadian exporters have not seen a worse year than 2009 – by a factor of five, no less. Canada’s recession was indeed an imported one, and the decline in activity is so dramatic that no single province but the smallest has escaped its effects. Even so, there are differences in each province’s experience, and in the outlook for 2010.

Pan across estimated performance for 2009, and export losses in certain provinces seem impossibly severe. Declines of 29% in New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, topped by a 36% plunge in Alberta, and an unthinkable 44% drubbing in Newfoundland. The magnitude almost seems impossible, until put in proper context. By and large, this year’s big losers saw banner performances in 2008 – for Newfoundland, a 27% increase, a stunning 34% gain in Alberta. But nothing matched the drama of Saskatchewan’s explosive 55% surge. These gyrations reflected movements in the prices of key commodity exports, which settled down again this year after their late-boom spike.

Unfortunately, not all provinces had such well-padded declines. Prior to this year’s plunge, British Columbia saw just 5% growth in 2008, as overall performance was weighed down by the front-running plight of the lumber industry. Nova Scotia’s 24% drop this year was preceded by a relatively slim 7.6% gain in 2008, which itself reflected early weakness in the lumber and fishing industries. Quebec’s growth was stunted in 2008 by a sharp drop in aluminum exports. However, Ontario entered the downturn in the weakest position. The early woes of the auto sector led to a 7.7% drop in exports last year, the weakest performance among the provinces, and the only region to post a decline.

Read the article or watch the video here.

Manufacturing in Ontario Works: Pupatello

(Canadian Manufacturing – Mike Ouellette)

Two concrete messages came from the Revitalizing Canadian Manufacturing conference held yesterday at the Ted Rogers School of Management.

The first is that Canada desperately requires a national manufacturing policy similar to the policies enacted by all of the countries we compete against. This policy should contain sector-specific planning and be devised to encourage investment in emerging markets, not the overly-commoditized, ailing markets of years past – those have already been lost.

“You can’t create wealth in an economy by spinning people’s debt. You eventually have to make something people want to buy,” said Jayson Myers, president and chief economist for the Canadian Manufactures and Exporters.

Jim Stanford, an economist for the Canadian Autoworkers Union, says such a policy must include something for all sectors of manufacturing, citing the federal focus on the oil sands as an impediment to progress. “Digging stuff out of the ground and selling it to someone else to process makes you a ‘swack’ of money up front but doesn’t further the knowledge base, which is inherently more useful,” Stanford said. Read more here.

Canada Increases Its Southeast Asia Presence

(Minister of Foreign Affairs)

The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today [Thursday] announced that Canada is taking steps to increase its commercial and political presence in Southeast Asia by creating Canada’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Network. The Ministers made the announcement while attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial Meeting in Singapore.

“We are strengthening our presence in Southeast Asia with the right people, and doing the right things to get tangible results for Canadians,” said Minister Cannon. “The ASEAN Network reinforces Canada’s strong commitment to the promotion and protection of Canadian values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. With respect to Burma, Canada is strengthening its advocacy on human rights; we look forward to closer cooperation in the region.”

Canada’s ASEAN Network will involve experts working on trade and investment, human rights, security, health, natural disasters and other bilateral and multilateral issues in the region.

“The ASEAN Network will further Canadian interests in the region and help identify new business opportunities for Canadian companies,” said Minister Day. “Additional experts in Canada’s missions in Southeast Asia will promote Canada as an investment destination of choice. Canada has a lot to offer, including a sound banking system, a stable business environment, the lowest corporate taxes in the G7 by 2012, and a dynamic, talented, highly qualified workforce.” […]

For more information about the Ministers’ participation at the APEC meeting, please visit APEC 2009 here.

FAST, Importer Application Process for Importing into Canada


The CBSA has published a guide on FAST, Importer Application Process for Importing into Canada. It is available on the CBSA website.

Audit of the MOU Between the CBSA and the CFIA


The portion of the CFIA responsibility for traveller and initial inspection services at all Canadian ports of entry for food, plants and animals (FPAs) and related products was transferred to the CBSA by Order-in-Council in 2003. The CBSA is responsible for the initial import inspection services set out in Section 11 of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act to the extent that they are applicable at airports and Canadian border points. […]

The audit found that the CBSA was partially meeting its obligations under the MOU as the control framework to support FPA-related border activities was not complete. While the FPA-related procedures in effect were adequate for wood packaging given the risk exposure, the procedures in effect for international waste and soil, performance monitoring and reporting, and risk management needed to be improved. Read the complete statement here.

PM Departs for Asia with Ambitious Agenda

(David Akin — Canwest News Service)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper travels Thursday to Asia for a weekend summit in Singapore of Pacific Rim nations, followed by three days next week in India, a trip that Canadian officials hope leads to “a brand new era of partnership” with the world’s largest democracy.

It will be Harper’s first trip to India and his office has a jam-packed dawn-to-dusk itinerary that includes political, commercial, cultural and spiritual events. […]

“This is a very ambitious agenda for India,” said Dimitri Soudas, Harper’s chief spokesman. “There is a tremendous amount of untapped potential to the Canada-India relationship.”

A key focus for the trip will be improved trade relations with India, a country of 1.2 billion people whose economy is rapidly expanding despite the recession. Two-way trade between the two countries is tiny, at just $2 billion a year, but officials in both countries believe the time is right to increase that amount. Read more here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Taiwan, China to Begin Trade Pact Talks in December

(Bloomberg – Janet Ong)

Taiwan and China will begin talks on a trade agreement in December as the island seeks to revive its economy and the government in Beijing aims for extra leverage over its counterpart in Taipei. The accord will be discussed at cross-strait negotiations on cooperation in the fishing industry, certification of agricultural and industrial goods and double taxation, said Ma Shao-chang, deputy secretary-general of Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation.

“We will be signing agreements on the four items and will exchange views on the trade agreement at the talks in Taichung, central Taiwan,” Ma said by telephone today. “But there won’t be any signing of a trade accord at this stage.”

Cross-strait dialogue resumed last year, following a nine-year hiatus, after President Ma Ying-jeou abandoned his predecessor’s pro-independence stance. The island is seeking closer ties with the mainland to support an economy that may contract at a record pace this year on declining exports and investment.

Zheng Lizhong, deputy head of the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, unexpectedly flew into Taipei today for talks with his Taiwanese counterpart Kao Koong- lian to complete details of the meeting, due to be held in the second-half of December, Ma said. Officials met in Hangzhou in eastern China last month to arrange the talks. Read more here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Transportation, Warehousing Industry to Take Nearly 30% Hit in ‘09

(Canadian Transportation & Logistics via Truck News)

Profits are expected to be down more than 20% this year across six Canadian industries covered by the Conference Board of Canada’s Canadian Industrial Profile-Autumn 2009, including transportation and warehousing.

The study found that profit levels for Canada’s transportation and warehousing industry have fallen 29% from $7.3 billion in 2008 to $5.2 billion in 2009. Officials said that the industry has been hit by diminishing global trade and manufacturing production, but is expected to experience a “robust” recovery post-recession.

The profiles, produced in collaboration with the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), provide a five-year outlook for the following industries: accommodation; food and beverage manufacturing; food services; retail trade; transportation and warehousing; and wholesale trade. Read more here.

NAFTA Partners Break Seven-Month Surface Trade Decline

(Canadian Transportation & Logistics via Truck News)

Trade using surface transportation between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico was 24.9% lower in August 2009 than in August 2008, coming in at $54.3 billion, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the U.S. Department of Transportation. But that figure was still good enough to break a seven-month skid in surface trade numbers.

BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the value of US surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico rose 5.3% in August 2009 from July 2009.

The value of U.S. surface transportation trade with Canada and Mexico in August was up 1.3% compared to August 2004, and up 26.0% compared to August 1999. Imports in August were up 18.8% compared to August 1999, while exports were up 35.5%. Read more here.

Can Have Both Border Trade, Security: Jacobson

(Embassy – Angelo Persichilli)

The new American ambassador to Ottawa, David Jacobson, is touring Canada because he wants “to learn as much as I can” about the country. A few days ago he was in Niagara Falls, visiting the customs facilities on both sides of the border. He was jovial, spontaneous and very open to talk about the relationship between Canada and the United States. He believes in the ability and the will of both governments to combine the need for business and the duty to provide security, and he is not concerned about the “irritants” between the two countries.

Embassy interviewed Mr. Jacobson while he was crossing the border after the visit on the U.S. side and coming over to Canada. An edited transcript of that interview can be read Read more here.

Geithner: Strong Dollar ‘Very Important’ for U.S.

(Agence France-Presse)

The dollar has plunged about 15% against a basket of six other major currencies from a peak earlier this year

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Wednesday a strong dollar was “very important” to the United States, seeking to reassure Asian nations concerned about the greenback’s recent slump. “I believe deeply that it’s very important for the U.S. and the economic health of the U.S. that we maintain a strong dollar,” Geithner told reporters in Tokyo.

Given the dollar’s key role in the world financial system, “we bear special responsibility for trying to make sure that we are implementing policy in the U.S. that will sustain confidence” among global investors, he said.

The dollar has plunged about 15% against a basket of six other major currencies from a peak earlier this year, sparking concern among Asian countries that have big holdings of dollars in their foreign exchange reserves. The dollar’s weakness is also bad news for many Asian exporters, which are struggling to maintain their competitiveness, particularly against Chinese rivals benefiting from the relative stability of the yuan. Read more here.

Immigration, Border Rules Hurting Our Community, State [Washington]

(Bellingham Herald – Edward Alden and Margaret D. Stock)

A show of hands please. How many of you once drove the hour north to Vancouver on a whim every so often, but have given up doing so because of the hassles you’re almost certain to face in coming back home?

If so, you’re in good company. Border and immigration rules are supposed to keep out those not permitted into the country while welcoming the rest with a minimum of delay. Instead, U.S. policy has become fixated only on keeping the wrong people out, at a time when the rest of the world is also thinking about how to let the right people in. Washington state is among many places paying too high a price for that imbalance.

Start with Microsoft, which must attract the most talented information technology engineers in the world to stay on the cutting edge of innovation. Most Microsoft employees are Americans, but some are Chinese or Indians or Russians eager to work in the United States. Yet quota restrictions keep many of those out; others who are permitted to work here must often wait a decade or more before they can get green cards. In the interim, they live a second-class existence in which their spouses are not permitted to work, travel across borders is difficult, and switching jobs is usually impossible.

Those with choices, not surprisingly, are opting for other countries. Microsoft recently decided to open its new research facility in Vancouver rather than in Redmond because U.S. immigration rules had become too great a barrier. “The Canadian government is more welcoming of getting the best and the brightest from around the world than the U.S. government,” chief executive Steve Ballmer put it bluntly last month. Read more here.

Steps Toward a More Integrated Supply Chain

(ThomasNet – David R. Butcher)

In many respects, the practice of supply chain management has made great progress in recent years. However, few companies have yet reached high levels of integration between planning and execution, a recent report says.

By 2015, supply chain planning and execution will blur, according to a recent presentation in which Supply Chain Digest’s editor-in-chief, Dan Gilmore, discussed specific key issues that he believes receive negligible attention.

“For many years, analysts and others have offered separate models of ‘supply chain planning’ and ‘supply chain execution’ processes, and the technology vendors were generally organized in that sense as well,” Supply Chain Digest said earlier this year.

Yet, according to Gilmore, “The need for response based on market demand and other factors is outstripping current planning cycles.

“Tactical and even some operational planning become completely intertwined with execution, causing changes in organizational structures, processes and technology,” he continued. Read more here.

Regional eManifest Coordinators


At the Border Commercial Consultative Committee (BCCC) meeting, held on September 29 and 30 in Ottawa, it was suggested that the contact information of the regional eManifest coordinators be provided to trade members. We encourage you to contact the regional coordinators listed below as they are available to provide you with information, as well as more formal presentations, related to the eManifest initiative.

If you have any questions regarding this information, please contact Kathleen Pomrenke by email or by phone at 613-941-5587.

Colette Pelletier-Langevin: Tel: 506-739-1839

Loana Villa: Tel: 514-283-8700 (ext./poste 8351)

Northern Ontario
Rosa Febbraro: Tel: 705-941-3051

Greater Toronto Area
Michelle McCrum: Tel: 905-803-7205

Sherry McCauley: Tel: 519-967-4208

Niagara/Fort Erie
Debbie Smyth: Tel: 905-994-6004

Liz Pasieczka: Tel: 204-983-6923

Lorraine Kopetzki: Tel: 250-363-3414

Minister Day Leads Trade Mission to Thailand

(Minister of International Trade)

The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, arrived in Thailand yesterday [Sunday] at the head of a trade mission made up of 10 Canadian energy companies.

Minister Day launched the trade mission before an audience of senior Canadian and Thai officials and business representatives in Bangkok. The Minister emphasized that this mission is the first Canadian ministerial visit in six years, and it will promote Canada as a supplier of high-quality goods and services to Thailand and throughout Southeast Asia.

“We must take advantage of the Government of Thailand’s new energy strategy by showcasing Canadian expertise,” said Minister Day. “This trade mission will help open doors for Canadian businesses that have an expertise in areas such as oil and gas exploration and production, natural gas vehicles, biomass energy, and wind, solar and nuclear energy.”

The Thai government’s new energy strategy, approved in January 2009, focuses on achieving greater energy independence and security through both conventional resources and alternative and renewable resources, such as compressed natural gas, bio-fuels and nuclear power.

In addition to having a growing number of Canadian businesses seeking a share of the energy market there, Thailand represents an important investment destination for Canadian companies. Canadian direct investment into Thailand has been increasing over recent years, reaching $1.3 billion at the end of 2008. As well, Canadian exports to Thailand also grew by 20 percent last year, particularly in the areas of machinery, wood pulp, cereals and vehicle parts.

“I am pleased with the solid and expanding nature of our relationship with Thailand, a valued partner in Asia,” said Minister Day. “My visit here not only shows Canada’s commitment to increasing trade and investment with this market, but it also highlights our countries’ interest in working together to create new opportunities in the years to come.”

Tackling ‘Buy American’ Doer’s Toughest Task

(CBC News – The Canadian Press)

Former premier Gary Doer has returned to Manitoba to give his first speech in his home province as Canada’s new ambassador to the U.S. Doer told an audience of 750 at a chamber of commerce event in Winnipeg on Monday that his greatest challenge in Washington is the “Buy American” protectionist policy.

He said the policy might be politically popular, but trade barriers between Canada and the U.S. will do more harm than good. Doer said it’s important that Buy American ideals don’t lead to the U.S. becoming “Closed America” when it comes to trade.

“My view is it’s a lot of work. It’s very important to tie it back to where congressional people ... come from and what jobs in their district are tied to Canada, and that’s the only way to make the case,” Doer said. “If we close our trade relationship even a little bit, it will hurt both of us.”

Doer said he plans to travel to communities across the U.S. to talk about how protectionism will cost jobs. He’s also counting on a grassroots effort to maintain the open trade relationship Canada has with the United States. He said Americans might have other issues on their minds right now, but the economy is still tops for legislators.

Client Document for Advance Commercial Information (ACI) / eManifest Highway Mode


The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has finalized the initial version of the Electronic Commerce Client Requirements Document (ECCRD) for EDI Highway Cargo and Conveyance.

The ECCRD can be found here, and appendices here and here.

Please note that CBSA has indicated that the ECCRD will be updated as additional functionality is added. For example, the current version does not address “flying” trucks; secondary (freight forwarder) data; full match notification; and broker/freight forwarder download.

CITT: Oil Country Tubular Goods, Preliminary Injury Inquiries


The Canadian International Trade Tribunal, under the provisions of subsection 34(2) of the Special Import Measures Act, has conducted a preliminary injury inquiry into whether the evidence discloses a reasonable indication that the dumping and subsidizing of oil country tubular goods originating in or exported from the People’s Republic of China, made of carbon or alloy steel, welded or seamless, heat-treated or not heat-treated, regardless of end finish, having an outside diameter from 2 3/8 inches to 13 3/8 inches (60.3 mm to 339.7 mm), meeting or supplied to meet American Petroleum Institute specification 5CT or equivalent standard, in all grades, excluding drill pipe and excluding seamless casing up to 11 3/4 inches (298.5 mm) in outside diameter, have caused injury or retardation or are threatening to cause injury.

This preliminary injury inquiry is pursuant to the notification, on August 24, 2009, that the President of the Canada Border Services Agency had initiated an investigation into the alleged injurious dumping and subsidizing of the above-mentioned goods.

Pursuant to subsection 37.1(1) of the Special Import Measures Act, the Canadian International Trade Tribunal hereby determines that there is evidence that discloses a reasonable indication that the dumping and subsidizing of the above-mentioned goods have caused injury.

This notice is available on the CBSA website.

CBP Official Outlines Policy on Enforcement of Importer Security Filing Rule

(The Perishable Specialist)

According to press reports, Assistant Commissioner Thomas Winkowski told a November 4 meeting of the Commercial Operations Advisory Committee that U.S. Customs and Border Protection will “take a common sense approach” to imposing penalties for violating the 10+2 importer security filing rule once the current period of informed compliance ends January 26, 2010. Winkowski assured the trade community that CBP’s focus will be more on aiding compliance with the rule than penalizing minor violations and stated that as a result all ISF penalties will first be reviewed at CBP headquarters.

Under the ISF rule, importers and maritime cargo carriers must submit additional cargo data to CBP before vessels are permitted entry into the country. Importers have to report 10 data elements on each ISF, including information that identifies the manufacturer, supplier, seller, buyer and consignee; the country of origin and tariff classification number; where and by whom the goods were stuffed into the container; and the party responsible for compliance with applicable import requirements. Five data elements are required for shipments consisting entirely of freight remaining on board cargo or goods intended to be transported in-bond as an immediate entry or transportation and exportation entry, including who is paying for the transportation of the goods and where the goods are headed. CBP’s goal is to have all data elements filed 24 hours prior to lading, but it has allowed for some flexibility either in timing or interpretation for six of the data elements.

The ISF rule took effect January 26, 2009, but full enforcement will not take effect until January 26, 2010, following a year of education, outreach and informed compliance efforts. As of that date, importers will be subject to fines of $5,000 each time an ISF filing is late or inaccurate. At the recent COAC meeting, however, Winkowski said “it’s not about penalties” or “nitpicking” for CBP, which will seek to avoid levying penalties for minor ISF filing mistakes and instead continue efforts to inform filers of the rule’s requirements. Those efforts have thus far included the issuance of ISF penalty mitigation guidelines and the posting of a list of answers to frequently asked questions on the CBP Web site, and Winkowski said enforcement guidelines are also being developed.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Canadians Could Face Eye Scans at Border

(National Post – Ian Macleod, Canwest News Service)

Homeland Security considers biometrics plan

Washington is turning to the next item on its security agenda: eye scans.

With the last of about 600 northern border radiation detectors having been installed at Trout River, N.Y., on the Quebec border, completing a continent-wide shield aimed at repelling the smuggling of nuclear bombs, dirty bombs and other malicious nuclear materials from Canada, every car, truck and passenger entering the United States by land from Canada is searched for nuclear weapons.

Now, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security proposes to spend billions of dollars collecting fingerprints and eye scans from all foreign travellers at U.S. airports as they leave the country.

Already, the United States demands biometric data, typically fingerprints and digital photos, from arriving air and sea travellers with visas. The chief aim is to try to ensure the person matches the individual who was given the visa overseas. Canadians and Mexicans are currently exempt.

Supporters of the proposed biometric exit check argue it will, among other things, enable officials to check a person’s biometrics against a watch list of known and suspected terrorists, criminals and immigration violators. Read more here.

Sudden Surge in Asia Freight

(Cargonews Asia – Ian Putzger)

Forwarders scramble for space as rates go up

Airlines’ endeavours to push their yields upwards have received a shot in the arm from a surge in demand for lift out of Asia that has forwarders scrambling for capacity.

In recent years, the peak season surge out of Asia to North America and Europe was a non-event, leaving carriers frustrated over the absence of the year’s most lucrative period when bottlenecks traditionally push up pricing. The slump that hit the industry in the fourth quarter of 2008 rendered many charter arrangements that forwarders had put into place in anticipation of tight demand futile, so this year most refrained from lining up charter freighter capacity.

As a result, the rise in volume, that commenced on some sectors as early as August, has hit forwarders unprepared.

Airlines and forwarders reported strengthening of traffic in much of the region – from Japan to Korea, China and Taiwan, but the strongest spike appears to have occurred out of China. Read more here.

U.S. OKs Two More Import Probes Against China

(FlexNews – Reuters)

The United States pushed ahead on Friday with two new investigations into charges of unfair trade practices by China, but rejected a third case one week ahead of President Barack Obama’s trip to Asia.

U.S. lawmakers also asked Obama to renew his support for legislation targeting China’s exchange rate practices.

The U.S. International Trade Commission approved probes into imports of glossy magazine-quality paper from both China and Indonesia totaling hundreds of millions of dollars, as well as certain salts from China that are used in cleaning products, food additives and fertilizer.

The votes came one day after the U.S. Commerce Department slapped preliminary anti-dumping duties on some $2.6 billion worth of steel pipe from China used in the oil and gas sector. Those were in addition to preliminary countervailing duties set on the pipe in September to offset Chinese subsidies.

The steel pipe case is biggest U.S. trade action against China to date and Beijing quickly denounced the new duties. Read more here.

Special Briefing: Cuts in Shipping Capacity ‘Risk Empty Shelves’

(Video: BBC • Text: Transport Intelligence – John Manners-Bell)

Last week, a major research project examining the impact of the container shipping industry on the global economy came to a conclusion. The project, called ‘The Box’, was a year-long project for UK broadcaster the BBC to tell the story of international trade and globalisation by tracking a standard shipping container around the world.

The container, provided by NYK and working on a commercial basis, could be tracked via the BBC’s website as it moved across the world via a selection of modes.

To celebrate its return to London, a day of media coverage was organised, examining not only the project but the state of the shipping industry as a whole. Ti’s Chief Executive, John Manners-Bell, was interviewed on radio and TV commenting on trends and developments in the sector over the past year, and its prospects for the immediate future. […]

For more information on the BBC’s project, ‘The Box’, follow this link.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Minister Cannon Announces New Canadian Mission in Qatar

(Minister of Foreign Affairs)

The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced Canada’s intention to open a new embassy in Doha, Qatar, to further expand Canada-Qatar political and trade relations and to advance a common agenda in the broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) region.

“Qatar is a fast-growing economy with a stable fiscal framework,” said Minister Cannon. “Canada and Qatar share a commitment to development, human rights, democracy and security.”

As a member of the six-country Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Qatar is a priority market under the Government of Canada’s Global Commerce Strategy. In 2008, Canada’s merchandise exports to the GCC region topped $2.9 billion. In 2009, through to August, Canada’s merchandise exports exceeded $2.1 billion, 13.4% ahead of last year’s record pace. Read more here.

New Study to Provide Roadmap for Sustainable Freight Transportation

(CEC via Environmental Expert)

The Secretariat of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) has embarked on a new study to evaluate opportunities for making freight transportation more sustainable in North America.

The transportation sector contributes about 26% of total greenhouse gas emissions in North America. At least a quarter of that share is related to transporting freight. Billions of tons of goods are moved every year in complex industrial and commercial supply chains that span the continent. Two-thirds of these goods are moved by truck and most of the rest by rail, giving the freight sector a significant environmental footprint.

“Although freight transportation doesn’t receive as much attention as cars and public transportation, it represents, along with building-related energy improvements, one of North America’s biggest opportunities for environmental progress,” according to Evan Lloyd, CEC’s Acting Executive Director. “While people often associate NAFTA freight with border issues, this study will take a more systemic perspective, identifying broader regional action to support sustainable freight transportation throughout the region.”

To assist the Secretariat in producing the Sustainable Freight Transportation in North America report, an advisory group of representatives from transportation industries, nongovernmental organizations, and government agencies will evaluate scenarios for improving the environmental performance of freight transportation by 2030 and recommend policy pathways to achieve those goals. Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice Chancellor at the University of Winnipeg and a former Canadian Minister of Transportation will chair the advisory group. Read more here.

Radiation Detectors Fully Deployed

(Journal of Commerce Online – Thomas L. Gallagher)

DHS provides 100% scanning capability ahead of schedule

The Department of Homeland Security completed deployment of non-intrusive scanning equipment to detect radiation emanating from materials used in nuclear devices at all Northern border land ports of entry, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano announced Thursday.

With the final installation October 29 at the Trout River, N.Y., port of entry, DHS passed a major security milestone two months ahead of schedule Secretary Napolitano said.

“Securing our Northern border while facilitating legitimate travel and trade requires a strategic combination of technology, personnel and infrastructure,” said Secretary Napolitano. “This technology enhances our capability to guard against terrorism and criminal threats while expediting border crossings for lawful trade and travel.” Read more here.

Commerce Secretary Outlines Strategies for Increasing Exports

(World Trade Interactive)

In a November 4 speech to the National District Export Council Conference, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke outlined the following five strategies for increasing U.S. exports.

Boosting Trade Promotion Activities
“ Less than one percent of America’s 30 million companies export – a percentage that is significantly lower than all other developed countries,” Locke said. “And of U.S. companies that do export, 58% export to only one country.” The DOC will therefore work to get more companies engaged with its commercial service corps, which includes a trade promotion office staffed with some 1,500 people in 77 countries.

Business Visa Reform
“ The United States often makes it too difficult for foreign company executives to enter here to do business – a shortcoming that has had a tangible cost for American businesses by shutting out some of their best customers,” Locke asserted. While there has been “tentative progress” on improving this situation, Locke said he has created a “departmental task force that will keep national security paramount while working to further improve the business visa process.”

Export Controls
“ Our current export control system was designed in the 1950s,” Locke said, but today “our global economy is far larger and more integrated, and nations’ economic and security interests are more nuanced.” As a result, U.S. companies are being “shut out of promising markets and promising partnerships with foreign companies” because “the undeniable appeal of U.S. technology is often outweighed by the time and effort foreign companies must endure to obtain it.”

Read the complete article here.

China Launches Anti-Dumping, Anti-Subsidy Probe into U.S. Autos

(China Daily – Xinhua)

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Friday it had launched anti-dumping, anti-subsidy investigations into U.S.-made off-road vehicles and sedans with engine displacements of 2.0 liters and above. The decision was made after the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) filed an application for the investigations, the MOC said in a statement posted on its website. CAAM, representing Chinese car-makers, said U.S. car makers had unfairly benefited from 31 government subsidy programs. The MOC decided to investigate into 24 of them.

The ministry said it held consultation with its U.S. counterpart on Tuesday and made the decision in accordance with China’s anti-dumping and anti-subsidy laws. The investigations would commonly be ended before November 6, 2010, but might be extended by another year if necessary, the MOC said. Read more here.

EU Finds Trade Barriers Rising Since Global Crisis

(New York Times – Stephen Castle)

European exporters have faced more than 220 new and restrictive trade measures since the start of the global economic crisis, but a “protectionist worst-case scenario has been avoided,” according to a report due to be published Friday.

The document from the European Union’s trade commissioner, Catherine Ashton, says that in the 12 months since October 2008, “roughly 223” measures had been introduced by the EU’s trading partners or were under consideration, with Russia and Argentina responsible for the most.

However, the report says there is no sign of the spiral of protectionism that some had feared when the worldwide downturn took hold last year. “Although, new trade-restrictive and distortive policy initiatives have been implemented since the start of the crisis,” the document says, “a widespread and systemic escalation of protectionism has been prevented.” Read more here.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Canadian Exporters See Hope but Slow Recovery

(Reuters – Louise Egan)

Canadian manufacturers and exporters believe the worst of the recession is over but see a strong currency and financing difficulties hampering a full-fledged recovery, a survey showed on Thursday. Businesses reported a sharp improvement in the value of orders, compared with three months earlier, according to the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters’ (CME) survey of 727 companies from October 13-27.

Only 38% said current orders have fallen in value, down from 50% in September. Thirty-five said orders are the same and 27% said they have increased – both slight improvements over the previous month. Read more here.

Not Very Special

(Washington Times – James Morrison)

One of Canada’s best-known ambassadors in Washington offered a little unsolicited advice Wednesday to the new envoy from America’s northern neighbor, urging him to grab the spotlight, network like a lobbyist and learn all about the curious customs inside the Beltway.

Allan Gotlieb, ambassador to the United States from 1981 to 1989, told the new ambassador, Gary Doer, that nothing beats a good Rolodex, nobody pays attention to a shy diplomat and the 535 members of Congress are like 535 foreign ministers, each with a personal agenda and Canada low among their priorities.

“The threats are countless, the victories rare and the terrain treacherous for a foreign diplomat,” Mr. Gotlieb wrote in Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper. “In Congress, ... Canada is just another special interest and not a very special one at that.”

Canada might be America’s largest supplier of foreign oil and its biggest trading partner, but Canada has no permanent friends or enemies in the House and Senate, he said. “Our allies on some issues are opponents on others,” Mr. Gotlieb wrote. “U.S. legislators are enfranchised by executive-like powers. Although Canada will usually remain far down on the list of their priorities, they are the leading source of most of our conflicts.” Read more here.

Economy Sputtering Forward Bodes Well for Freight


Increased manufacturing activity and more “re-balancing” of inventories are two of the latest signs that the U.S. economy is improving and that freight volumes should rise. Yet experts caution that trucking is not out of the woods yet.

“The manufacturing sector grew for the third consecutive month in October, and the rate of growth is the highest since April 2006,” said Norbert Ore, chairman of the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing business survey committee. He added that ISM’s monthly purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose to 55.7 in October, an increase of 3.1 percentage points from September, and that any value over 50 indicates growth.

“The jump in the index was driven by production and employment, with both registering significant gain,” Ore said. “Production appears to be benefiting from the continuing strength in new orders, while the improvement in employment is due to some callbacks and opportunities for temporary workers. Overall, it appears that inventories are balanced and that manufacturing is in a sustainable recovery mode.”

Yet he cautioned that those numbers may be a bit too high, and will likely drop a few points next month in what he called “a leveling off” on the economy’s course toward recovery. “This is not a robust economy,” Ore stressed. Read more here.