Saturday, May 30, 2009
Gord Brown (Conservative, Leeds-Grenville) and Brian Masse (NDP, Windsor West), members of the “all-party Border Caucus” (Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group), respond to the new Border Security Agreement signed by Janet Napolitano and Peter Van Loan at last week’s summit in Ottawa.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Manufacturers, importers, retailers and advertisers that sell products in Canada can expect to see a flurry of regulatory change relating to consumer products later this year. The activity – culminating in House of Commons Bill C-6, "An Act respecting the safety of consumer products" – stems from an increased focus by the Canadian government on the regulatory controls for consumer products.
Bill C-6, known colloquially as the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA), was introduced in Canada's House of Commons on January 29. If enacted into law as drafted, the CCPSA will reconstitute the federal organization Health Canada as a powerful regulator of consumer products, providing it with unprecedented authority to inspect and influence the supply chain for consumer goods.
The legislation currently governing consumer product safety in Canada is the federal Hazardous Products Act (HPA). Health Canada, the country's public health agency, is responsible for administration and enforcement of the HPA and its regulations, through its Product Safety Program. […]
The regulatory tools conferred upon Health Canada by the HPA are limited because they apply only to the list of products that fall within the scope of the HPA, and the powers are reactive in nature. At present, the HPA does not confer upon Health Canada any legislated authority to compel parties in the supply chain to initiate product recalls. Therefore, Health Canada must rely on the cooperation of private parties with respect to consumer product recalls.
As the Canadian government's vehicle for delivering an overhaul of consumer product regulation in Canada, the new CCPSA will repeal and replace Part I of the HPA. The CCPSA will apply to all "consumer products," other than exceptional products prescribed by regulation.
Read the complete article here.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) today [Friday] announced in the Federal Register that the CBP Revenue Division is accepting fiscal year 2009 claims for antidumping and countervailing duties.
The notice list all domestic producers who are entitled to file a claim under the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000 (CDSOA). The purpose of this law is to disburse anti-dumping and countervailing duties collected by CBP to domestic producers injured by foreign dumping and subsidies.
Any domestic producer who is entitled to file a claim under the CDSOA must file their claim with the CBP Revenue Division no later than July 28.
The notice gives detailed instructions and requirements to be followed to ensure timely filing of claims. In order to be considered timely filed, the CBP Revenue Division must receive all fiscal year 2009 claims no later than July 28.
Any certifications received after July 28 will not be eligible to receive a distribution.
Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000 Certification, CBP Form 7401, may be used to apply for CDSOA distribution. This form is available at http://www.pay.gov and can also be found attached to the May 29 Federal Register Notice. This certification can be submitted electronically through www.pay.gov or by mail.
Companies doing business in China can lower the costs of cross-border trade and avoid compliance risks by ensuring that they have a sound understanding of China’s preferential and non-preferential rules of origin. Zhaokang Jiang, head of Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg’s Beijing office, offers the following guidance on this important topic.
There are two types of rules of origin: one applies to most-favored-nation trade (non-preferential ROO) and the other applies to imports under bilateral and regional trade agreements or unilateral preference programs. The World Trade Organization does not have an agreement on product-specific and detailed ROO, and international trade is governed by national laws and bilateral and multilateral international agreements. Read more here.
Laws same, enforcement techniques will be different at Canadian, Mexican borders, U.S. official says
A senior U.S. official who earlier stoked concerns that Canada”s border would be treated no different than Mexico”s now says that while the law governing the crossings is the same, the techniques used to implement it will be different.
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano”s words — made in Detroit late yesterday — come less than a week before new rules kick in that require a passport or other secure document to enter the U.S.
“We”re going to be using a different mix of manpower and technology between the ports of entry, for example, than we would at the southern border,” Napolitano said at a joint news conference with Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan.
“So, the law is the same but the techniques we use to implement that law will be differentiated because of the differences between Canada and Mexico.” Read more here.
Ottawa urges officials to open markets to U. S.
The federal government is looking to cut a deal with Washington that would persuade U. S. legislators to repeal controversial Buy American measures that Canadian firms say are costing them sales and forcing them to shed jobs.
The key element of such a pact, however, is getting the provinces and territories to open up their procurement markets to U. S. suppliers. At present, provinces and municipalities are not bound by global trade law and are free to discriminate against U. S. companies in favour of local suppliers.
International Trade Minister Stockwell Day has been in talks with the provinces to determine their willingness. If most are, Ottawa”s goal is to persuade Washington to drop the Buy American clauses on the understanding that provinces would commit to talks aimed at opening their markets. Read more here.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
A private member’s bill introduced Monday by the New Democrats would require the federal government to give priority to Canadian companies when purchasing goods and services. Bill C-392, known as the Made in Canada Act, makes exceptions for emergency purchases, cases where there are no Canadian bidders or if the procurement falls under international trade agreements.
“This bill will help build new markets for Canadian suppliers, strengthen sustainability and our environmental commitments, and encourage Canadian entrepreneurship,” said NDP MP Irene Mathyssen in a statement. The bill defines a Canadian product as one in which more than 50% of the total value is manufactured, produced or assembled in Canada.
Canadian politicians continue to voice concerns over “Buy American” provisions attached to U.S. stimulus legislation that are appearing in other pieces of legislation, such as funds for local governments to improve drinking water systems. Last week, Conservative Industry Minister Tony Clement said the measures are “of grave concern to Canada” and warned protectionist impulses could backfire on the U.S. economy.
Canadian exporters have faced significant new-millennium challenges. The irrepressible loonie, increased global competition, a thickening border with our top customer, bottlenecks in trade infrastructure – any one of these would have been challenge enough. Even so, exporters have managed to grow their business and create key success stories, thanks to vibrant global demand. With that key element now gone, export sales have suddenly become tough for all industries.
Exports fell into recession last year, led by a sharp drop in auto sector shipments and ongoing woes in the forestry industry. But at the same time, others were soaring. It was a great time to be producing raw materials: the energy, agri-food and fertilizer industries each saw sky-high gains. Also, exports of other transportation equipment, ores and metals, and industrial machinery and equipment posted respectable gains. The story for 2009 is much more uniform.
This year, there seem to be two categories: bad, and worse. Many of last year’s high-flyers will experience the deepest sectoral declines in 2009 export shipments. Few were not shocked by the extent of the collapse in energy and base metal prices, significant enough to put certain key projects in jeopardy, at least in the short term. Energy sector exports are forecast to tumble by 41% this year, before regaining 16% of the lost ground in 2010. Collectively, ores and metals will see a 33% drop in 2009 before a modest rebound in prices lifts 2010 shipments by 11%. Read more or watch the video version here.
U.S. and Canadian officials met in Ottawa May 27 to discuss management of their common border. With respect to customs issues, the two sides said only that they would explore the possibility of sharing border facilities, equipment and technology. They also agreed on a framework for cross-border operations during and following an emergency.
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Canadian Minister of Public Safety Peter Van Loan issued a joint statement following their meeting stating that they are committed to a “collaborative approach” to border management that “enhances our security and public safety while facilitating the trade and travel that connects our two countries.” The officials said they plan to meet twice a year to monitor progress toward the following goals.
• explore models for joint or shared border facilities, equipment and technology, as well as cross-designation of personnel
• develop joint threat and risk assessments and advance initiatives that manage risk while facilitating the movement of legitimate goods and people
• endeavor to share information relevant to preventing people or goods that threaten mutual safety and security from entering either nation or crossing the shared border
• expand integrated law enforcement operations along the shared border and waterways
Read the complete article here.
Finance minister rejects opposition parties’ calls for his resignation
The $50-billion deficit Canada is facing this fiscal year is necessary to help Canadians weather the worst economic recession since the Second World War, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Thursday, rejecting calls from the opposition to resign.
“I’m busy doing my job. There’s a global recession going on,” Flaherty told CBC News.
Flaherty announced Tuesday the deficit will rise by more than $16 billion in 2009-10 from the $34 billion he forecast in January’s budget.
The announcement prompted calls from the opposition on Wednesday for him to step down. Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff called Flaherty’s handling of the global recession “incompetence on a historic scale.”
Flaherty said Thursday the projected deficit only represents about 3.3 per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product. That pales compared to the 10 per cent and greater deficits Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States are facing, Flaherty said. Read more here.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
CP Notice: U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Lacey Act Blanket Declaration Pilot Program
This is further to our Customer Bulletin of March 24, 2009, concerning USDA APHIS implementation of the Revised Lacey Act Provisions.
This update will be of particular interest to Shippers and U.S. Importers who:
a) Ship / Import goods to the U.S. subject to Lacey Act provisions b) Participate in U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (USCBP)
Automated Line Release (ALR) program The USDA is introducing a blanket Declaration Pilot Program for shippers using the USCBP ALR program.
The Pilot Program allows importers and shippers currently using ALR codes to continue doing so provided they participate in the Pilot. Those who do not participate in the program will have their ALR C4 code inactivated effective June 1, 2009.
The Lacey Act Blanket Declaration Pilot Program is open only to those entities currently participating in one of Customs and Border Protection's expedited border release programs, Automated Line Release (ALR) or Border Release Advance Screening and Selectivity (BRASS). This pilot program will test the feasibility of collecting the information required through the use of a periodic "blanket" declaration, with subsequent reconciliation reports.
Eligible importers who wish to participate in the pilot must send a letter to APHIS (to the address provided below) specifically requesting participation in the program. The letter must contain the importer's C4 code and the name and telephone number of an individual who will serve as a point of contact should APHIS require additional information.
The blanket declaration must be submitted in paper form and mailed to:
Lacey Act c/o U.S. Department of Agriculture
Box 10 4700 River Road • Riverdale, MD 20737
Canadian Pacific strongly encourages shippers and U.S. importers to review the details of this program. Participation will protect your Automated Line Release reporting privileges and help facilitate the cross border fluidity of your Lacey Act eligible goods.
Details on the USDA APHIS Program are available at the USDA website. Specific questions should be directed to your customs broker or the USDA APHIS.
It’s the American myth that just won’t die, and U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano distanced herself from it before Wednesday’s visit to Ottawa, reiterating that she does not believe the Sept. 11 attackers came from Canada.
“Now we know the 9/11 terrorists did not use the Canadian border,” she said Tuesday in Detroit, a month after she suggested in an interview that they did.
“However, we also know that just as our economy has become globalized, so has terrorism. And it erupts in many ways, in many different facets beyond the traditional al-Qaeda episodes that we have seen in the past and attacks we have seen in the past.”
Ms. Napolitano’s comments fall short of what opposition MPs want to hear from her Wednesday on Parliament Hill in her first Canadian visit as secretary: a clear statement to the U.S. audience that Canada is not a threat. Read more here.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Border security is still a very sore point in Canada-U.S. relations
The greatest test of whether the election of President Barack Obama will really repair the strains in Canada-U.S. relations gets under way this month when the secretary of homeland security, Janet Napolitano, comes to visit. The transformation of land border security over the last eight years came to symbolize the tense relations between Ottawa and the Bush administration. The almost 9,000 km of friendly frontier, and gateway to $1.6 billion in trade per day, turned into another front in the war on terror, patrolled by now-armed guards and unmanned drones, riddled with new regulations that business complains tie up trade, and as of June 1, a passport requirement for the first time. From the Canadian point of view, it was the work largely of an overzealous American administration and Congress taking a series of unilateral actions. “The previous attitude was that any additional step that could be taken should be taken without regard for trade,” Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan told Maclean’s. Like many Canadians, he hopes that will change under Obama. “Now we want to focus on security that is actually effective, and addresses real security threats—counterterrorism, the drug trade, organized crime, immigration issues—and we want to find ways to improve the flow of goods across the border.”
But from the U.S. point of view, the last eight years looked rather different. The world changed on 9/11, and Americans and Canadians reacted with what Paul Rosenzweig, a former senior Department of Homeland Security official who worked on border issues under George W. Bush, diplomatically refers to as “a different sense of urgency.” He suspects Ottawa and Washington will find it just as difficult to resolve their differences under Obama as they did under Bush. “One of the things I’ve learned is that there is this myth that Canadians and Americans are a lot alike in how they view things like trade and terrorism,” Rosenzweig said in an interview. “And they simply are not.” Where Canadians saw U.S. unilateralism, Americans saw Canadian complacency. On both sides, there was an erosion of trust. Can it be rebuilt? “My advice to Secretary Napolitano,” says Rosenzweig, “would be to explore how much of our inability to achieve common objectives with Canada was the product of political issues relating to the Bush administration—and how much of it was fundamental.”
Read more here.
When Canada recently resumed its World Trade Organization challenge of the U.S. Country-Of-Origin Labelling (COOL) laws, we were in effect doing both countries a favour. That’s because COOL in its current form is unfair, uneconomical and unjustified. COOL has more to do with protecting U.S. livestock producers than protecting U.S. consumers.
Signed into law last March, COOL affects certain foods that come from a foreign country but are packaged in the U.S.A. If an American packing plant buys hogs from Canada to make pork chops, U.S. grocery stores selling those chops must identify the meat’s Canadian origin. In principle, this sounds good.
In practice, however, meat packers don’t want the extra work required by COOL, which forces them to track which country the meat in each package comes from. For example, steaks from American cattle must be labelled “Product of the U.S.” whereas steaks from Canadian cattle must be labelled “Product of Canada and the U.S.” Since Washington forbids general labels such as “Made from U.S. and/or Canadian cattle,” packers must change their operating procedures to handle Canadian animals separately from American ones.
U.S. processors are already cutting back on imports. Sales of Canadian cattle and hogs into the U.S. have plunged as more American plants stick to domestic livestock so they simply can label everything “Product of the U.S.” So the labelling law is costly because it affects much more than labels. It is harming Canadian producers. Read more here.
The Patriot Act contains a provision which allows the U.S. to prosecute for export violations, see 18 U.S.C. 554. Gerardo Cantu was indicted under 46 counts, one each per shipment. Cantu pled guilty to ten (10) counts agreeing that he imported fabric rolls from China, moved them in-bond and intended to import them into Mexico relying on phony NAFTA Certificates of Origin. Cantu was sentenced to six (6) months in prison, three (3) years probation, and an $8,000 fine for fraudulently and knowingly facilitating the transportation, concealment and sale of Chinese textiles from the United States to Mexico with falsified invoices and NAFTA certificates of origin.
The violations came to light when an outbound shipment was designed [sic] for examination and a NAFTA Certificate of Origin claiming U.S. origin was found. Cantu was interviewed and admitted he was doing so in order to evade Mexican duties.
Any wonder why we keep seeing more export inspections?
Comment on the Roundtable blog.
Foreign trade has been a potent force for good over more than half a century. It propelled Japan’s emergence from the ashes of World War II and helped it become an industrial powerhouse. It is the cornerstone of development strategies from China to Brazil. It is what links countries all over the world in a network of production that underpins global prosperity.
Today, trade is collapsing, one more casualty of the global financial crisis. That is especially bad news for countries that are dependent on trade for economic growth, including many developing nations that had nothing to do with the financial mess.
Exports from the United States declined 30 percent and imports 34 percent in the first quarter of the year from the previous three months. Imports into countries that use the euro from outside the area were down 21 percent compared with the first quarter of last year. At this rate, the World Trade Organization’s dire projection in March that global trade would decline 9 percent this year will soon start to look outright boastful.
The drop in trade is spreading economic weakness across the world, as one country’s drop in imports translates into a fall in exports, and production, in another. Read more here.
The following customs notices are now available on the Canada Border Services Agency’s website:
CN09-009: Temporary Importations Using the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Remission Order
CN09-010: Permanent Importations Using the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Remission Order
The Government of Manitoba has introduced legislation to build a huge “inland port” around Winnipeg's international airport. The idea of CentrePort Canada is to take advantage of the city's location close to the geographic centre of North America. Winnipeg is located on the International Mid transportation corridor, which gives access by road and rail south into the U.S. and Mexico via the Emerson Border. To the west are routes into Asia via the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert, while to the northeast lie air cargo routes over the North Pole to Europe.
The CentrePort Canada Act enables the creation of a corporation to develop and run the port on 20 acres of land northwest of the James Armstrong Richardson International Airport. The inland port would be a massive trucking and rail depot, as well as having private distribution centres, warehouses and manufacturing plants.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper committed $100 million in federal funds to help develop the port when he was touring the province to observe flooding in the area in April. The total cost is estimated at $212 million. One of the first jobs is to build a four-lane expressway to link the port to the airport.
Canada Post is already building a new mail distribution plant east of the airport on 11 hectares of land.
The American Association of Exporters and Importers [AAEI] in comments filed last week urged caution over the costs of U.S. Customs’ Importer Security Filing interim final rule.
ISF, also known as ‘10+2’, requires cargo information to be transmitted to CBP agents at least 24 hours before goods are shipped to the United States.
“AAEI expressed concern to U.S. Customs and Border Protection that the costs of ‘10+2’ compliance are still unknown,” the association said. “In the first months of implementation, the only cost CBP is capturing is the transaction fee for filing. However, AAEI notes that the true costs are much higher, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises. Plus, hidden costs of ‘10+2’ compliance will add up quickly due to delays and slowdowns in the supply chain.
“AAEI is also concerned about the lack of tangible benefits for voluntary participation in the costly C-TPAT program…” Read more here (subscription required).
Monday, May 25, 2009
The leader of the country’s biggest industry association wants Ottawa to threaten trade sanctions against U.S. companies to force American officials to work harder at improving a deteriorating economic relationship between the two countries.
Jayson Myers, president of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, said he prefers a negotiated end to the economic problems caused by the “Buy America” provision that has stuck itself to much of President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package.
As a result, many Canadian firms with a long history of sales to American customers are getting shut out.
“Clearly the threat of retaliation is something that does attract attention in the United States and the retaliatory pressures we’re seeing right now against “Buy America” provisions are certainly causing a lot of concern in the U.S. administration,” Mr. Myers said in a joint interview with Canwest News Service and Global National. “It’s something the Canadian government should use as a negotiating lever here.” Read more here.
High in the sky, down on the ground, agents with high-tech tools guard the border
About 15 metres before a car from Canada reaches the border inspection booth, the screenings begin.
A camera snaps your licence plate.
An electronic card reader mounted on a yellow post scans your car for the presence of any radio-frequency ID cards inside. If there is an enhanced driver’s licence embedded with biometric information, its unique PIN number is read without you offering it.
The Customs and Border Protection computer connects with your province’s database and in less than a second – .56 to be exact – your personal information is uploaded to a screen in the booth. A second camera snaps the driver’s face.
Welcome to the United States of America.
If Canadians were under the impression that the Canada-loving U.S. President Barack Obama would heed pleas to loosen border controls to ease trade and traffic, there should no longer be any confusion. He has not. Read more here.
Colombia and Peru are vital markets for Canadian livestock, grain, and pulse producers and the Government of Canada is working hard to quickly pass and implement free trade agreements with both countries. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz led a Canadian delegation to Colombia and Peru to advance quick implementation of these important free trade agreements.
Meetings between Canada and Colombia resulted in a clear path that will enable Colombia to fully reopen the Colombian market to Canadian beef and livestock.
“Canada’s Conservative Government is working hard to create opportunities for Canadians producers around the world and we are building a strong relationship between Canada and Colombia as we move forward with our free trade agreement,” said Minister Ritz. “I am confident that we can meet and exceed Colombia’s high quality and safety standards to reopen that market to our beef and livestock this summer.
“This breakthrough agreement gives us a clear direction to once again scientifically prove that Canadian beef and livestock are safe. We continue to deliver the same stringent sanitary and health standards whether we are producing food for Canadian grocery stores or markets around the world.”
In addition to the Andean Community’s ongoing study of Canadian beef and livestock sanitary and phytosanitary systems, it was agreed that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will provide Colombia with detailed analysis of the two most recent cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, complete a technical questionnaire requested by Colombia, and provide updated information about Canada’s livestock and food safety systems and sanitary procedures. Colombia will deliver a final decision within 15 days of receiving the requested information from CFIA. If all requirements are satisfactorily met by Canada, Colombia will fully reopen its market to Canadian beef and livestock. Read more here.
(The Canada Asia News)
The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada today launched a new publication, ‘Asian Business Cases,' which offers executives and researchers valuable insights into the way major companies solve problems and overcome obstacles in their Asian operations. Taken from the portfolio of case studies in the archive of the Richard Ivey School of Business at The University of Western Ontario, Asian Business Cases will be available at no cost via email subscription.
The quarterly publication is being supported by Export Development Canada (EDC). The new publication is intended to help both established companies and new entrants clear some of the hurdles faced in doing business in Asia. Each issue will profile several studies of business decisions involving the same country, industry or topic. The first issue examines some of the challenges faced by companies setting up joint ventures in China and is available here.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
A book by Toronto journalist John Ibbitson suggests we’re overdue for a North American environmental, economic and security accord
A new book is challenging Canadians to consider the benefits of a radical scenario: Erasing the Canada-U.S. border.
That’s right. The two nations would retain their distinct sovereignty but there would be no more passports or work visas.
The continent would see a free flow of goods, services and people; common rules for immigration and refugees; joint inspection of shipping containers from abroad; an integrated terrorist watch list; a system of security enforcement around the perimeter of the continent.
“The worst that will happen is that we may have to adopt American spelling,” posits author John Ibbitson, a Toronto journalist writing on U.S. politics from Washington, D.C. Read more here.
After years of delay and hundreds of millions of dollars in preparations, Customs and Border Protection officials said new security measures would go into effect on June 1, requiring Americans entering the country by land or sea to show government-approved identification.
Currently, Americans crossing borders or arriving on cruise ships can prove their nationality by showing thousands of other forms of identification. But after the start of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, Americans will be required to present a passport or one of five other secure identification cards.
Coming as the summer vacation season starts, the measure is expected to lengthen lines at least temporarily at border crossings and seaports. But the biggest impact is expected along the nearly 4,000-mile border that the United States shares with Canada, which both countries once boasted was the world’s longest undefended frontier. Read more here.
Peace Arch construction project to continue into 2010
British Columbians heading to the U.S. on weekends this spring and summer — especially holiday weekends — should gird themselves for life in the slow lane.
Major construction at the Peace Arch border crossing in Blaine, Wash., has cut its southbound traffic capacity in half, creating bottlenecks also at the nearby Pacific Highway crossing.
Lineups should be shorter for northbound travellers — certainly shorter than the three- to four-hour lineups some faced at the end of the recent Victoria Day weekend.
Faith St. John, speaking for the Canada Border Services Agency, said that a combination of “unique circumstances” created longer than usual lineups at Canadian stations along the Washington State border last Monday. Read more here.
Do you think ports are effective in meeting your needs?
Tell us where they are effective and where their performance falls short.
The Port Performance Research Network (PPRN), chaired at Dalhousie University, is working to identify and evaluate the key components of port effectiveness in delivering port services to port users. We want to understand how port users evaluate ports, what is most important to port users in terms of the services received, and how you evaluate the performance of ports you use. In this study, participants are asked to rate the importance of various performance criteria and then to apply them to ports they use. This survey is being piloted in Canada. When this research is completed, the PPRN will be implementing a port satisfaction survey that will be used throughout the world to evaluate port performance in meeting customer needs. This should guide ports in improving the quality of their services, which will be a significant benefit to the companies who use ports. We have designed this survey to be as short as possible while still capturing the important factors companies consider when evaluating ports.
If you are interested, and have personal experience with port usage in the last year, take 15-20 minutes (time depending on the extent of your usage) and visit the study web site and participate. We will let you know about the research via industry media and a direct report if you contact us. All responses will be confidential and anonymous.
Deadline June 30, 2009
If you have any questions about this survey or want to be placed on an annual panel, please contact Mary Brooks at (902) 494-1825 or email@example.com.
Friday, May 22, 2009
The Consumer Product Safety Commission will vote May 28 on a staff recommendation for a proposed rule requiring manufacturers of durable infant or toddler products to provide consumers with registration forms with each such product. The rule would also require manufacturers to (a) maintain a record of the names, addresses, e-mail addresses and other contact information of consumers who register their ownership of such products in order to improve the effectiveness of recall efforts and (b) permanently place their name and contact information, model name and number, and date of manufacture on each covered product.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
When it comes to Canadian exports, the Andean region – Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela – is not likely top-of-mind. But Canadian exporters and investors have been very active in the region in recent years, and there is much potential for growth well into the future.
Last year, Canada exported $2.1 billion worth of goods to the region. What is more, 2008 growth was about double Canada’s average, at an impressive 19%. This was no flash in the pan, either – growth has maintained a solid, double-digit pace in each of the last four years. Not only that, but over the same period, Canada also saw consistently strong growth in each of the five markets.
Agri-food exports dominate all other industry categories, at about 40% of total regional shipments, yet growth is below the regional average. Machinery and equipment exports together account for a sizable 16% of Canadian exports to the region, and as a group, grew at a 22% pace over the past four years. Other top exports are paper products, minerals and refined petroleum products.
Canada’s activity in the region is not confined to exporting. Canadian firms have undertaken direct investments in the region of over $4.4 billion, over half of which is in Peru. Colombia makes up an additional $1 billion, a tally that is growing by 28% annually. Venezuelan holdings are at $850 million, and rising 15.5% annually. Canada is also importing from the region. Growth in the past three years has been well below export growth, but with inbound shipments of $4.4 billion, is about 2.5 times as large. Crude and refined petroleum account for one third of imports, while precious metals make up an additional 27%. Imports of fruits, nuts and coal are also significant. Read more here.
During their recent meeting in Washington, D.C., Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan and Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, agreed to establish a formal mechanism of twice yearly high-level meetings to manage issues on the shared border, a process that did not previously exist. The first of these meetings will take place May 26th in Detroit, Michigan and May 27th in Ottawa.
“I look forward to hosting Janet Napolitano on her first official visit to Canada as Secretary of Homeland Security, and renewing our practical problem-solving discussions following my recent trip to Washington,” said Minister Van Loan.
The regular High-Level Meeting mechanism is seen as a major positive step forward for Canada, strengthening the relationship with the U.S. and creating an opportunity for both countries to smooth trade and improve security at the border.
“As close neighbours, our security and trade interests are shared. The Prime Minister reminded us recently that threats to the national security of the United States also represent threats to Canada,” added Minister Van Loan. “The Secretary’s visit will allow us to advance initiatives and develop a mutual appreciation of the economic importance of smooth trade and the progress both countries have been making to improve security.”
Industry Minister Tony Clement on Wednesday slammed the Democratic-led U.S. Congress for expanding “injurious” Buy American rules that bar Canadian firms from bidding on American economic-stimulus projects, suggesting Capitol Hill lawmakers are ignorant to the potential for their actions to backfire on the U.S. economy.
Mr. Clement, who is on a two-day trip to Washington to press Congress to resist protectionist impulses, told reporters the situation is “of grave concern to Canada.” “What’s happened is that these provisions seem to be expanding in scope and they are cascading down the system,” he said.
The Harper government has grown increasingly alarmed in recent weeks amid evidence that Buy American provisions attached to the massive US$787-billion economic-stimulus legislation are finding their way into several other pieces of legislation.
One of those new appropriations bills is the Water Quality Investment Act, which will provide US$13.4-billion for local governments in the U.S. to improve their drinking-water systems. It’s been approved by the House with Buy American rules and is awaiting Senate passage.
But the fallout from Buy American is already being felt among Canadian firms – from sewage pipe manufacturers to water treatment companies – that are being shut out of valuable infrastructure contracts being awarded to local and state governments receiving stimulus funds. Read more here.
In order to ensure that Canadian priorities are taken into account during the negotiations, the Government of Canada is consulting Canadian stakeholders with an interest in the EU market.
Closing date is June 30, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
With world trade volumes likely to shrink by as much as 13% in 2009 from 2008 levels, the OECD is urging governments to avoid protectionist measures and keep markets open in order to allow economies to benefit from the recovery when it comes.
Speaking at a meeting in Brussels to present a new OECD publication on trade policy, International Trade: Free, Fair And Open?, OECD Director for Trade and Agriculture Ken Ash warned that government actions to discriminate against foreign goods, services, firms or workers “could have a devastating effect in terms of prolonging and deepening the recession.”
• Consumers would be hurt by higher prices and reduced choice.
• Domestic industries would face higher input costs, as a huge amount of trade today is in intermediate goods and services.
• Exporters would be penalised twice: through higher costs and through retaliation from other countries. The net effect on the economy would be even bigger job losses than otherwise
European Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton, speaking at the same event, stressed the need to help citizens better understand the role of trade in contributing to economic growth and job creation.
The new OECD publication, International Trade: Free, Fair And Open?, was written with that objective. Part of the OECD’s Insights series of publications aimed at a wide public, it explains that while open markets are a necessary condition for growth and prosperity they are not sufficient on their own to guarantee positive outcomes. Trade policy must be accompanied by other policies if the potential benefits are to be realised and the negative impacts of liberalisation on vulnerable individuals and sectors are to be addressed. “Today, in particular, effective labour market policies need to be in place to assist those that need to adjust,” Mr. Ash said.
Canada’s Minister of International Trade Recommends Canadian Companies to Leverage the Hong Kong Platform to Explore Opportunities in China
Stockwell Day, Canada’s Minister of International Trade, sees Hong Kong as a springboard to the great business opportunities of China. Leading a trade mission to China last month, the Minister expects trade relations between the two countries to more than triple in the next decade.
During his stay in Hong Kong, he was interviewed by the HKTDC Editor. A webcast interview and an article have subsequently been produced.
Related Links: Webcast interview and Hong Kong Trader article “City of Hope.”
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
The Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service is seeking comments by June 18 on proposed amendments to the Dairy Promotion and Research Order that would implement an assessment on imported dairy products. The 2002 Farm Bill requires the imposition of such an assessment to fund promotion and research, while the 2008 Farm Bill specifies a mandatory import assessment rate of 7.5 cents per hundredweight of milk or equivalent thereof.
According to AMS, the assessments on imported dairy products would be collected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection from importers at the time the entry summary documents are filed. If the importer has adequate documentation concerning the milk solids content of the imported dairy product, the assessment would be based on that; otherwise, a default assessment rate for each HTSUS number would be applied. The assessments collected would be transferred to the Dairy Board to fund the national dairy promotion and research program. The Dairy Board would establish a compliance program and procedures to verify, as necessary, that correct assessments have been paid by importers.
Jim Prentice, the federal Minister of the Environment, was right to warn in a speech in Washington last Wednesday against “trade protectionism in the name of environmental protection.” But trade and environmental motives may be difficult to disentangle, and Canada must be ready to defend its vital interests as an exporting nation by adopting a serious policy to reduce carbon emissions.
Mr. Prentice was specifically directing his speech at a draft bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, called the American Clean Energy and Security Act. Even more particularly, he is justifiably worried about provisions in the bill for “international reserve allowances” that could well have the effect of protective tariffs.
The draft bill in the House energy and commerce committee would charge these so-called allowances, at the border, to exporters into the United States from other countries that do not have greenhouse-gas-emissions regimes “commensurate” to the one that the U.S. would adopt under this same bill.
Though Mr. Prentice had some fun saying, “Like beauty and fairness, the definition of ‘commensurate’ will apparently lie in the eye of the American beholder,” the bill does elaborate on this word, if only in two paragraphs. Read more here.
When: June 2, 2009
Where: Delta Winnipeg, 350 St. Mary Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba
IE Canada is hosting a one day seminar where you will have the opportunity to hear a U.S. Customs Update.
In this session, attendees will learn about the latest developments in U.S. Customs procedures and requirements, including:
• Implementation of the new declaration for all imports of plants and plant products under amendments to the Lacey Act;
• Steel Importation (Anti-dumping, mill certificates, country of origin)
• New conformity certification requirements for imports of consumer products under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.
Speakers: Kristina Nelson, Senior Import Specialist, US Customs and Border Protection, Pembina, North Dakota and Judy Bahr, Senior Import Specialist, US Customs and Border Protection, Pembina, North Dakota
For a copy of the brochure, click here or to register online click here.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
The 2009 Handbook of Export and Import Commodity Codes has been posted on the DFAIT website.
Friday, May 15, 2009
The effective date for compliance with the statutory requirement for tracking labels on all children’s products remains Aug. 14, 2009, after an indecisive vote by the Consumer Product Safety Commission on a request for a delay. As a result, effective Aug. 14 manufacturers of children’s products must place permanent distinguishing marks on those products and their packaging that enable the identification of the manufacturer or private labeler, the location and date of production, and certain other information. “Children’s products” are defined in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act as consumer goods designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger. Read more here.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Jim Prentice, the Minister of the Environment, yesterday warned U. S. lawmakers to drop proposed trade sanctions on imports from countries with higher levels of greenhouse gas emissions, saying the measure would be a “prescription for disaster” for the global economy.
In the Harper government’s toughest critique yet of draft U. S. climate legislation, Mr. Prentice told a Washington audience a proposal to slap a “carbon-border adjustment” fee on foreign manufacturers violates the core principles of international trade.
In addition, any U. S. decision to impose such a trade tariff threatens the chances of reaching an international climate change deal later this year in Copenhagen, Mr. Prentice said.
“Trade protectionism in the name of environmental protection would be a prescription for disaster for both the global economy and the global environment,” the Minister said in remarks at the State Department to the Conference of the Americas. Read more here.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Canada must avoid discussing the North American Free Trade Agreement in advancing its U.S. trade interests, a U.S. professor wrote for a business group Monday.
“Ottawa needs a new approach to discussing Canada-U.S. trade – one that avoids direct mention of NAFTA,” Georgetown University international business diplomacy professor Marc Busch wrote for the Conference Board of Canada. “NAFTA is associated with the job losses to Mexico, with its lower wage rates,” Busch said in “The Perfect (Anti-Trade) Storm? Recession, the November U.S. Elections, and What It All Means for Canada.”
“In contrast, Americans see trade with Canada as similar to trading with North Dakota,” Busch’s report said. “By emphasizing the bilateral trade relationship instead of NAFTA itself, Canada can benefit from the fact that Americans do not perceive Canadian trade as a threat.” Read more here.
Tiny Halton Hills, Ont. – population 58,000 – is vying to be the mouse that roared in the battle against big bad U.S. protectionism.
Upset that one of the southern Ontario community’s biggest manufacturers is being shut out of municipal infrastructure projects south of the border under Buy American legislation, Halton Hills is taking matters into its own hands. The town council has unanimously passed a resolution that would have the Toronto-area municipality discriminate against any country that discriminates against Canada.
And the idea is proving so attractive that it will likely be put to a vote during next month’s annual general meeting of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
Mayor Rick Bonnette says his town’s action is not a “Buy Canadian” response, but he does want Canadian municipalities – which will be spending the lion’s share of the federal government’s $12-billion infrastructure program – to shut the door to contract bidders from the U.S. until that country opens its doors to Canadian firms. “We want to push back,” he explained. “There comes a point where you can’t stand by and do nothing when you have people losing their jobs.”
Buy American clauses in President Barack Obama’s US$800-billion stimulus package – meant to ensure U.S. taxpayer money creates jobs in the recession-ravaged United States – have raised the ire of international governments, which are accusing the U.S. administration of preaching free trade, particularly during the current recession, but practising stealth protectionism.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper believed he had exacted the necessary concession from the U.S. administration in February when the president pledged to honour international trade obligations, including those under NAFTA, in the application of Buy American provisions. Read more here.
Canada’s environment minister was to tell an American business organization that tariffs shouldn’t be imposed on imports from countries that allow greater greenhouse-gas emissions than the United States.
“Trade protectionism in the name of environmental protection would be a prescription for disaster for both the global economy and the global environment,” says an advance copy of Jim Prentice’s speech to the Council of the Americas. “And the threat of such unilateral action is a threat to global progress at this critical time in multilateral negotiations.” Prentice was speaking to the business group Wednesday in Washington.
The U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill in March proposing hard caps on emissions as well as tariffs on imports from countries with more lax greenhouse-gas rules that the United States. Read more here.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
The scanners and the new computer systems are in place at Vermont’s largest border crossing with Quebec and people in both the United States and Canada are starting to get identification cards that makes it easier for them to cross the border.
There are still a few loose ends, but officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection say they will be ready on June 1, the day the United States fully implements the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.
And people in both countries know the pre-9/11 days are gone when they could simply tell a border agent who they were and go from one country to another. Most people crossing the border now already have all the required documents, officials said.
The travel initiative requires everyone entering the U.S. to have specialized documents, like passports or special driver’s licenses, that prove who they are and where they’re from. Read more here.
Related: U.S. beefs up security along Canadian border (LAT)
Increasing levels of business and confidence, according to Danske Bank survey
Latest figures from some major research departments have suggested that the worst of the recession for the European freight industry may now be over. In its latest European Freight Forwarding Index, Danish national bank Danske Bank recorded increased levels of both volumes and business confidence among forwarders, compared with two months ago.
Author of the report, Danske Bank transport equity analyst Johannes Møller, told IFW: “The good news is that the index on the current situation is now above 50, indicating that the participants are today handling more volumes than they did two months ago. We see this as a clear indication that the recovery in the freight markets has begun.”
Respondents to the Danske Bank survey were asked two questions: what volumes their company handles today compared with two months previously; and how they expect volumes to develop over the following two months. Respondents were given three options to reply: lower volumes, unchanged volumes, and higher volumes.
The answers were then translated into an index ranging from 0 to 100, in which a value above 50 represents an improvement in business levels. The survey questioned 123 forwarders in Scandinavia, the UK, Germany and east Europe, and the index for current business in May was at 59, compared with 46 in April, 27 in March and 28 in February. It also found improved confidence going forward, with an index of 60 for the next two months. Read more here.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Despite Obama’s anti-protectionism rhetoric, Canadian manufacturers are finding themselves suddenly cut off from U.S. markets as his $800-billion (U.S.) stimulus plan takes effect
More than a half-dozen times since taking office, President Barack Obama has implored recession-weary nations not to build walls around their economies.
From Ottawa and London to Prague, Ankara and back home again, the U.S. President’s message has been consistent: protectionism “hurts us all in the end.”
Apparently, the warning didn’t reach the Camp Pendleton Marine base in Oceanside, Calif., where last week a contractor installing a sewage line ripped a section of Canadian-made pipe out of the ground, complaining it didn’t meet new “Buy American” rules.
“They exhumed the product and replaced it with an identical product,” complained a disheartened Veso Sobot, whose company Ipex Inc. of Don Mills, Ont., made the pipe. “The only problem was that it said ‘Made in Canada.’ “
The offending plastic pipe was made at an Ipex plant in London, Ont., one of the Belgian-owned manufacturer’s 15 Canadian factories. And according to Mr. Sobot, the sewage project isn’t even covered by any foreign content restrictions.
“This is protectionism run amok,” Mr. Sobot said in an interview. Read more here.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
During last year’s US presidential campaign Austan Goolsbee, then Barack Obama’s economic adviser, got into hot water when he told a Canadian diplomat not to pay too much attention to his candidate’s tough rhetoric on the North America Free Trade Agreement.
Mr. Obama’s spin doctors quickly locked Mr. Goolsbee away in a dark room.
A year later Mr. Goolsbee, who is now at the Council of Economic Advisers, a group that answers to the president, is being vindicated. On Wednesday Mr. Obama issued a statement on trade that contained little of the language he deployed on the campaign trail.
The president’s statement also flagged up a new “plan of action” on three unconsummated trade agreements – with South Korea, Colombia and Panama – all of which are deeply unpopular with trade unions and all of which Mr. Obama opposed on the campaign trail. Wednesday’s statement followed a clear hint last month from Ron Kirk, Mr. Obama’s trade representative, that NAFTA would not formally be reopened for negotiation. […]
Trade watchers in Washington are divided between those who believe Mr. Obama is moving rapidly towards a Clintonite position in favour of new trade deals and those who believe the president is simply moving away from the protectionist wing of the Democratic party without developing a proactive new agenda on trade. Read more here.
(Ben Stein — New York Times)
For the last 23 years or so, complete strangers have come up to me all over this country to ask if there really was such a thing as the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act or if I made it up.
Yes, there really was such a thing. And while it’s been the subject of some controversy for economists and historians, it also played a special role in my little life. The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, sometimes called Hawley-Smoot, was the subject of a monologue I gave ad lib, just off the top of my head, in the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” on Stage 15 at Paramount Studios on or about Nov. 15, 1985. It stayed in the movie, and when that movie was released in 1986, that scene, my first of any size in any movie, made me a star — although a star of only cult proportions, unlike, say, a Ronald Reagan. For me, that is the primary significance of that piece of legislation.
Otherwise, the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930 was a wildly misguided attempt by two Republican senators, Reed O. Smoot of Utah and Willis C. Hawley of a very different Oregon, and the Republican-controlled Congress to stimulate domestic production by raising (“raising or lowering ... anyone, anyone?”) tariffs on many goods from abroad. Signed reluctantly by President Herbert Hoover, who most certainly did know better, the law did not do much to ameliorate the onrushing Depression, but it did anger foreign trading partners. They slapped retaliatory tariffs on American-made goods.
World trade slumped. Read more here.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Canadian manufacturers this week related some startling examples of how the “Buy America” laws in the United States are cutting into their business.
As reported by the Star’s Les Whittington, the recently installed piping for a new health centre at a military base in California was actually ripped out of the ground when it was discovered that it was made in Canada. Meanwhile, a manufacturer of pumps who has been selling into the American market for more than three decades finds that, for the first time, he is being required to certify that his products are “made in the U.S.A.” As a result, he may have to shift some of his production south of the border.
Our manufacturers are beginning to feel the impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act authorizing the spending of $90 billion (U.S.) on roads, bridges and other infrastructure. It was passed by Congress earlier this year on the condition that only American steel and manufactured goods be used in the projects.
And U.S. protectionism likely won’t end there. For instance, a bill before the U.S. Senate would provide $13.4 billion in spending over the next five years for clean water projects. A clause in the bill repeats the “Buy America” provisions of the Recovery Act. Read more here.
(Globe & Mail)
Former trade minister David Emerson on what Stephen Harper was negotiating in Europe this week, why it might only be the start and whether the seal hunt is more trouble than it's worth
Adam Radwanski, globeandmail.com: Mr. Emerson, thanks for taking the time to help shed a little light on what the Prime Minister has been doing this week in Europe. It strikes me, given the potentially massive changes to our trade policy that could ultimately result from Mr. Harper's talks with the EU, that there's been surprisingly little focus on what's being discussed (other than the seal hunt). Should Canadians be paying more attention to what's going on there?
David Emerson: There is no doubt that Canadians should be paying close attention to the government's attempts to move trade policy forward more aggressively. Canada has always been, and always will be, a trading economy. Today 80 per cent of our exports go to the U.S., and with protectionism on the rise we absolutely must build deeper relationships across both the Atlantic and Pacific.
The EU is a market of roughly three quarters of a billion people, with 27 countries' markets at various stages of development and with enormous potential for trade and investment linkages to Canada. With Europe, we are also dealing with relatively stable and advanced democracies. If we can strike a comprehensive trade deal expeditiously, it strengthens Canada's position relative to the U.S. and builds on a market where we have begun to see significant growth and success.
Adam Radwanski: There have been rumblings about knocking down trade barriers between Canada and the EU for years, but rarely have they amounted to much. What's changed?
David Emerson: Probably the biggest change has been the willingness of provinces to consider being bound by the obligations such a deal may involve.
Procurement practices of sub-national governments have been major barriers to the success of past negotiations. Policies limiting mobility of skilled and educated people are another example.
Quebec, for example, has moved from a historically reluctant jurisdiction to a strong advocate of a deeper economic relationship with Europe.
We still are likely to have problems dealing with agriculture to any substantial degree; both the EU and Canada are strongly protectionist and timid with respect to certain agricultural interests. Canada will also have to show increased flexibility when it comes to protectionist limits on foreign ownership and investment in certain sectors.
I do think, perhaps wishfully so, that Canadians are more informed than ever about the economic perils of protectionism. Let us hope our leaders continue to lead and take advantage of the opportunity.
Read the complete interview here.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Jeff Schott, Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics discusses the roots and future of the multilateral trading system in a lecture at Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs from March 31, 2009. Note: This presentation is 1 hour 22 minutes in length.
Schott joined the Peterson Institute for International Economics in 1983 and is a senior fellow working on international trade policy and economic sanctions. During his tenure at the Institute, Schott was also a visiting lecturer at Princeton University (1994) and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University (198688). He was a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (198283) and an official of the US Treasury Department (197482) in international trade and energy policy.
During the Tokyo Round of multilateral trade negotiations, he was a member of the U.S. delegation that negotiated the GATT Subsidies Code. Since January 2003, he has been a member of the Trade and Environment Policy Advisory Committee of the U.S. government. He is also a member of the Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy of the U.S. Department of State.
Schott is the author, coauthor, or editor of several books on trade, including Economic Sanctions Reconsidered; Trade Relations Between Colombia and the United States; NAFTA Revisited: Achievements and Challenges; Free Trade Agreements: US Strategies and Priorities; and Prospects for Free Trade in the Americas to name a few.
The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today concluded a five-day visit to Lithuania, Latvia, the Czech Republic and Romania, where he was opening doors to new opportunities for Canadian companies.
During his visit, Minister Day signed foreign investment promotion and protection agreements (FIPAs) with Latvia and the Czech Republic. Tomorrow, he will sign a FIPA with Romania. These agreements will protect and promote Canadian investments so that businesses can invest with confidence.
“Renewing these FIPAs represents a concrete step in moving Canada’s trade agenda forward,” said Minister Day. “These agreements also help deliver on the government’s commitment to create the right conditions for Canadian businesses to compete internationally.”
Minister Day met with key ministers and senior officials in each country to discuss areas of mutual interest, such as energy security in the region. He also promoted the benefits of a closer Canada-EU economic relationship.
The launch of negotiations with the EU toward a comprehensive economic partnership agreement was officially announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso at the Canada-EU Summit on May 6. The agreement could provide a $12-billion boost to the Canadian economy and a 20-percent increase in bilateral trade between Canada and the EU.
While in Lithuania, Latvia and Romania, Minister Day promoted Canada’s expertise in the energy sector and raised the profile of Canadian companies, particularly those in the nuclear industry, as world-class suppliers of quality goods and services. Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. and the Canadian nuclear industry have the technological expertise to participate in the construction of a Lithuanian-led nuclear power project for the region, and for phases three and four of Romania’s Cernavoda nuclear power plant. These multibillion-dollar projects could create new jobs in Canada and Europe.
In Romania, the minister promoted Canada’s new measures to help Canadian mining and oil and gas companies meet and exceed their social and environmental responsibilities when operating abroad.
More details about Minister Day’s trip to Europe can be found here.
Trade talks between Canada and the EU send a worrying signal about Doha
When NATO was under negotiation in 1949 Canada wanted to create not just a military alliance, but a transatlantic economic and political union too. The heft of the larger European countries, it reasoned, would restrain the growing clout of the United States. Rebuffed, Canada was drawn firmly into America’s orbit. Sixty years on it has come back with a scaled-down plan, starting talks on May 6th with the EU aimed at a bilateral trade agreement.
You can see why Canada would want to lessen its dependence on America, which bought 75.5% of its exported goods last year and provided 63.4% of its imported ones. Yanked into recession by America, Canada worries that trade will suffer from protectionism (in the form of new Buy American provisions and country-of-origin labelling requirements on farm products) and Washington’s moves to toughen up border security.
It is less clear what motivates the EU, which traded a mere €70 billion ($103 billion) with Canada last year. The EU did more than five times as much trade with China in 2007 and more than ten times as much with America. The estimated increase in bilateral trade of €25 billion annually once the deal has been in place seven years appears modest.
According to Catherine Ashton, the EU trade commissioner, by talking about trade liberalisation amid rising global protectionism, the two parties are sending a “powerful signal”. Yet they are also sending a worrying message about confidence in the Doha round of global trade talks. In 2006 Canada and the EU had put talks on a trade and investment treaty on hold pending the outcome of Doha. Read more here.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection will issue the first “10+2” progress reports on May 10 to let importers and their agents know how well they are complying with the rule for submitting advance electronic data about their cargo shipments, Assistant Commissioner Thomas Winkowski announced Wednesday.
The report cards will be sent by e-mail to all parties that have submitted Importer Security Filings (ISF) for their ocean shipments since the rule went into effect on Jan. 26.
CBP originally intended to send the progress reports only to filers, which will then be responsible for separating the individual spreadsheets and sending them on to their various customers. Most importers are using third-party vendors, such as customs brokers, forwarders and compliance software providers, to file on their behalf.
In a new twist, the border agency will also begin issuing report cards directly to all importers that participate in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, Winkowski told the 20 industry representatives on the Commercial Operations Advisory Committee meeting in Washington. Read more here (subscription required).
President Obama’s fiscal 2010 budget request for the Homeland Security Department will boost funding for technology and border agents along the southwest border, as well as to find and deport criminal illegal immigrants inside the country.
It represents a shift away from some of the most controversial efforts under the Bush administration, such as building fencing and barriers along the border and going after undocumented workers who pose no criminal or national security threat.
Nearly $200 million would be allocated for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to conduct enforcement actions against criminal illegal immigrants -- a 30 percent increase over current levels.
About $70 million would be provided to hire about 350 new special agents and criminal investigators to establish a new border violence intelligence group and improve coordination efforts with the Mexican government.
“There are a couple of things we are going to have a prayer meeting about, but I think basically it’s a good budget,” said House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman David Price, D-N.C. “We are going to examine it in detail and talk about it with all of our colleagues.” Read more here.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
The WTO Secretariat reported that during the period 1 July — 31 December 2008, the number of initiations of new anti-dumping investigations showed a 17 per cent increase compared with the corresponding period of 2007. On a yearly basis, there were 208 initiations of new anti-dumping investigations in 2008, as compared to 163 in 2007 and 202 in 2006.
Canadian importers and brokers have been asking to simplify and speed up the process of requesting multiple AIRS commodities in a single request through ACROSS and EDI. In response to this request from industry, the CFIA has developed the AIRS Verification Service (AVS). AVS is a web service designed to verify and validate multiple AIRS commodities in a single request. Information is sent to the service in an XML format where it is validated and a response message is generated identifying which commodity requires review before submission.
Currently, AVS is only available in a Pilot Project Phase for testing by importers and brokers. To date, we have had limited participation however, the response from participants has been very positive and they have all noted that the web service is a valuable time saver for their respective organizations.
At this time, CFIA requires further participation in the pilot project in order to thoroughly test the service before it becomes available nationally. Additional participation is crucial to the success of this service and without it the project and its launch may need to be cancelled.
It would be greatly appreciated if you will take the time to communicate this to your members and invite them to contact me directly should they wish to participate.
Your partnership and support in this matter are very much appreciated. Please feel free to contact me anytime should you or your members have any questions.
AVS Pilot Coordinator, Import Control Division
Canadian Food Inspection Agency, National Headquarters,
This customs notice is to inform you of the July 1, 2009 implementation of the Canada-European Free Trade Association Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA).
Growing Protectionism in U.S. Spells Disaster, Manufacturers Fear
A Toronto company that has been exporting pipe to the United States market for 60 years recently landed a contract to supply plastic piping for a new health-care centre at the Camp Pendleton Marine base in California.
But the piping is now being ripped out of the ground. Why? Because the pipes are branded with the words Made in Canada.
It’s just an early example of what some Canadians fear will be a plague of protectionist measures in the U.S. that could result in the loss of billions of dollars in sales and thousands of manufacturing jobs in Ontario and other provinces.
Despite reassurances by President Barack Obama, Buy America provisions that require the use of U.S.-made products are spreading and threatening to keep Canada’s suppliers from participating in the massive rebuilding project now under way south of the border, according to business experts.
“Camp Pendleton is a perfect example of how an excellent product, a brand new product, is going to be pulled out of the ground and be replaced by an American-made product,” said Veso Sobot, spokesperson for IPEX Inc., the Don Mills-based company that sold the pipe to the California Marine installation.
“We’ve never seen such a wave of protectionism as at this moment,” he said, adding that he’s also being pressed by project organizers in other states to certify that his pipes are all made in the U.S. – which they aren’t.
“Many Canadians believe the issue” of U.S. protectionism “was settled when (Obama) came into Canada back in February and made assurances that all is well. But it’s not,” Sobot said at a news conference organized by Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME). “This will lead to lost Canadian jobs if it’s not dealt with quickly.” Read more here.
The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, and the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, today announced that the Government of Canada is taking action on behalf of Canadian farmers in the dispute over U.S. country-of-origin labelling (COOL) measures. Canada has taken the next step in the World Trade Organization dispute settlement process by formally seeking further consultations with the United States.
“We are concerned with the approach the United States is taking to implement COOL and the negative impact it is having on our exporters,” said Minister Day. “Recent instructions from the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture encouraging the U.S. industry to use very strict labelling practices have removed the flexibility previously envisioned in the legislation and this affects the ability of our cattle and hog exporters to compete fairly in the U.S. market.”
“We are standing up for Canadian producers as we always have, and always will,” said Minister Ritz. “COOL is having a significant negative impact on the Canadian livestock industry and we are taking the necessary steps to ensure that our producers are treated fairly.”
Canada initially requested WTO consultations with the U.S. on COOL in December 2008, as it believed the measures were creating undue trade restrictions, to the detriment of Canadian exporters. At that time, U.S. provisions were being implemented on an interim basis.
A Final Rule to implement COOL was published in the U.S. Federal Register on January 15, 2009. However, on February 20, 2009, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture issued an open letter to the U.S. industry, encouraging the use of stricter and broader labelling practices. According to Canadian industry representatives, those proposals will only add to the challenges they are already experiencing. They have observed that, since COOL came into effect, some U.S. processors are choosing not to buy Canadian animals, or are trying to buy them at a reduced price.
Mexico is in the process of filing a similar request at the WTO. This underscores both countries’ concerns over the impact of COOL on the integrated North American industry.
WTO consultations provide parties with an opportunity to resolve a dispute through discussions. If consultations fail to resolve the matter, the complaining party may request that the matter be referred to a WTO dispute settlement panel.
(Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada)
Canadian Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, Stockwell Day, United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk, and Mexican Secretary of the Economy Gerardo Ruiz Mateos today issued the following statement calling for an end to unscientific bans on pork imports from their respective countries due to the fears of the H1N1 flu virus, noting the large and negative economic impact of such bans. More than a dozen countries worldwide have sought to ban pork imports from H1N1-affected nations:
“We would like to express our concern for the victims of the current outbreak of H1N1 human influenza. Our governments remain committed to doing everything possible to bring the outbreak under control.”
“We are also concerned that some trading partners are imposing restrictions on trade in swine, pork and other meat products from North America that are without scientific justification and inconsistent with their international obligations. These unjustified restrictions will likely result in serious trade disruptions without cause and result in significant economic damage.”
“On May 2, the World Health Organization [WHO], the World Organization for Animal Health [OIE], the Food and Agriculture Organization [FAO] and the World Trade Organization issued a statement saying that ‘there is no evidence that the virus is transmitted by food. There is currently therefore no justification in the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Standards Code for the imposition of trade measures on the importation of pigs or their products.’ They stressed that ‘pork and pork products, handled in accordance with good hygienic practices recommended by the WHO, FAO, Codex Alimentarius Commission and the OIE, will not be a source of infection.’”
“In view of the above, we urge our trading partners to remove these restrictions on our products immediately. We will continue to follow this situation closely, and will take any steps to prevent the enforcement of unjustified measures against our exports, as appropriate.”
The Editor interviews David A. Hartquist , Chairman of the International Trade and Customs practice group of Kelley Drye & Warren LLP.
Editor: As Chairman of the International Trade and Customs practice group of Kelley Drye & Warren, how are the current economic conditions affecting your practice area and your clients involved in international trade?
Hartquist: We are very busy, and I expect that during the course of 2009 we'll become even busier. One of the things that happens during an economic downturn is that as competition for diminished sales increases, concern about fair play in the marketplace also intensifies. So many of our clients are asking us to look into dumping and subsidization situations to determine whether actions should be taken to deal with these kinds of unfair trade practices.
Editor: Are you finding concrete evidence that this is the case?
Hartquist: Yes, it's very widespread in affecting both our traditional and new clients.
Editor: What effect will the economic stimulus legislation have on your clients?
Hartquist: We think a significant effect, in part because many of our clients are in basic industries, such as steel and the copper and brass industry. We worked very hard on the so-called "Buy America" provisions in the recent legislation passed by Congress. Potentially, we think there's going to be a considerable amount of business to be generated for American manufacturers under this legislation, given the wide array of projects, and numerous federal and state agencies involved along with local governments. Infrastructure work will involve a large portion of our manufacturing capacity.
Read the complete interview here.
The federal Conservatives, who once downplayed the impact of Buy America clauses in the United States, are changing their tune and now concede it’s a major concern for Canada’s economy.
Industry Minister Tony Clement yesterday expressed worry about growing U.S. protectionism, saying he is hearing that Canadian companies are being disadvantaged by the application of Buy America provisions on contracts being let in the U.S.
“I’m concerned about it,” Clement told reporters. “It’s incumbent upon us to make sure that the Americans live up to their trade obligations, their treaty obligations under WTO (World Trade Organization) and under NAFTA.”
His remarks came a day after Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters warned Canadian companies are being shut out of crucial U.S. markets by rules barring foreign-made products from being used in public works projects funded from President Barack Obama’s $787 billion (U.S.) economic stimulus package.
Quebec takes seat at table saying provinces want to influence deal, but Nfld. opposes EU discussions due to seal-product ban
Canada embarked on free-trade negotiations with the European Union yesterday with a visit by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to Prague, while Quebec showed its determination to play its own major role in the talks, naming former Parti Québécois premier Pierre-Marc Johnson as the province’s “chief negotiator.”
Quebec Premier Jean Charest has established close ties with the former PQ leader, who has been one of the Liberal government’s most respected voices on everything from trade issues involving the United States and China to heading a public inquiry into the 2006 collapse of an overpass in Laval that killed five people.
Mr. Johnson, who in the 1980s placed sovereignty on the backburner to promote Quebec’s “national affirmation” within Canada, has now been asked to advance Mr. Charest’s vision of Canadian federalism, in which provinces act as partners with Ottawa in major decisions, rather than spectators.
“The European Union was reticent to engage in such talks unless the provinces were committed to the process,” Mr. Johnson said yesterday. Read more here.
Influential former federal minister and leading business executive David Emerson is calling on Canada to lead a new charge on continental integration.
He calls his idea Project North America.
Says Emerson: “I think the process of integration has to begin with the two leaders, perhaps three,” outlining a joint vision for closer collaboration.
“Probably from there to a high level emissaries model to put meat on the bones.”
Canada’s former international trade and foreign affairs minister in the Harper government, is among a rising tide of voices in recent months expressing concern about a thickening border and growing protectionism in the U.S., despite the smiling face of Barack Obama.
But even as Emerson is urging greater coordination between Canada and the U.S., and secondarily Mexico, the trend line is going in the opposite direction. Read more here.
But business group warns it could scare off investors
Canada’s addition to a “priority watch list” of countries deemed soft on copyright piracy by the United States shouldn’t and probably won’t perturb the Canadian government, say Canadian researchers who study copyright and Canada-U.S. trade relations.
“We’ve been placed in a spotlight, but the United States has not indicated that it’s prepared to take any action,” said Chi Carmody, a law professor at the University of Western Ontario and the Canadian director of the Canada-United States Law Institute.
“My sense is that Canada’s inclusion on the list this year is not really something that the United States is concerned about in our bilateral relationship, but more as an example to the rest of the world.”
He added that Canada is a sovereign country with the right to make its own decisions, and that he believes the government is committed to a “made in Canada” approach to copyright and intellectual property, “as we should be.”
Canada was among 12 countries that made the “priority watch list” in an annual report released by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative last week on intellectual property rights protection by 77 U.S. trading partners. Canada had long been on the office’s “watch list,” but this is the first time Canada, Algeria and Indonesia made the higher-priority tier long occupied by countries such as China and Russia. Read more here.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Blanket Declaration Pilot Program for Automated Line Release or Border Release Advance Screening and Selectivity Programs [Lacey Act]
The government will begin a pilot program on May 1, 2009, initially open to those entities currently participating in one of CBP’s expedited border release programs, Automated Line Release (ALR) or Border Release Advance Screening and Selectivity (BRASS), and whose products require a Lacey Act declaration during the current phase of enforcement. This pilot program will test the feasibility of collecting the information required through the use of a periodic “blanket” declaration, with subsequent reconciliation reports. Entities currently participating in ALR or BRASS will be able to choose whether to remain active in the expedited program and participate in this pilot program or be removed from the expedited program.
If the participant’s choice is to be removed from the expedited program, no further action is necessary. Effective June 1, 2009, that participant’s C4 code will be inactivated. If the participant’s choice is to remain on the expedited release program and participate in the blanket declaration pilot program, the participant must notify APHIS and CBP that they wish to remain in ALR or BRASS and agree to provide information as required by the pilot program. We currently plan to implement the pilot program using the following two step process.
The participant must file with APHIS an advance estimated PPQ 505. Initially, and for purposes of this pilot, the estimated PPQ 505 must be filed on a monthly basis. It must include all data elements required on the PPQ 505. Genus, species, value, and quantity fields should be an estimation of the participant’s planned imports during the next calendar month. The estimated PPQ 505 must be filed on or before the 15th day of the month prior to the reporting period. The deadline for the first estimated PPQ 505 is May 15, 2009, covering expedited release shipments planned for the month of June 2009.
The participant must file with APHIS reconciliation within 15 days after the end of the month. This reconciliation will be submitted in a format to be established and made available on the APHIS website. The reconciliation will provide information on the actual shipments made during the previous month. The deadline for the first reconciliation is July 15, 2009.
Please see related guidance at the CBP website.
European officials say Canada promised everything was on the table, but a senior official says that’s not the case
While negotiations for a Canada-European Union economic partnership will finally get the go-ahead today in Prague, officials from both sides appear to be strides apart about what exactly is on the table.
That gap has led to concerns the negotiations – already expected by many to be extremely difficult given the parties involved and the range of issues to be addressed – are falling off the rails even before they have started.
The talks for a Canada-EU economic partnership agreement, named as such because it is expected to scope far beyond a traditional free trade agreement, are expected to be the most challenging Canada has ever attempted.
The agreement is expected to tap into federal and provincial sectors and regulations across Canada, and aims to bring them in line with those of the 27-country EU. It will also include things like labour mobility, government procurement and intellectual property rules.
An EU official last week told Embassy that Canada had, after resisting for years, agreed to put all federal and provincial sectors up for possible negotiation – and that this is why the EU finally approved trade talks.
“Both sides have said everything is on the table for discussion, and we’ve been very clear about that,” said Anya Oram, head of the economic and commercial section at the delegation of the European Commission to Canada. “Nothing is taboo as far as bringing it into these negotiations is concerned...We’re prepared to discuss everything, we have no hidden issues.”
But during a technical briefing on Friday in advance of today’s Canada-EU summit in the Czech Republic, a spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that was not the case – especially when it comes to politically sensitive agricultural sectors protected in Canada by supply management. Read more here.