Thursday, July 30, 2009

Revised D Notices on CBSA Website


The following are now available on the CBSA Web site:

Importing and Exporting Firearms, Weapons and Devices
This memorandum outlines how Tariff Item 9898.00.00 of the Customs Tariff, the Criminal Code, the Firearms Act, and the Export and Import Permits Act relate to the importing and exporting of firearms, firearm parts, weapons, devices, and certain types of ammunition.

D3-1-1: Policy Respecting the Importation and Transportation of Goods

D3-1-5: International Commercial Transportation

D3-1-6: Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Post Audit System

D3-3-1: Forwarded and Consolidated Cargo – Import Movements

D3-4-2: Highway Cargo - Import Movements

D2-2-1: Settlers' Effects – Tariff Item No. 9807.00.00
Revisions made to this memorandum are the result of regulatory changes to the definition of a settler and procedural changes. We have included limitations in the importation of unmarked tobacco products for personal use, as per the Excise Act, 2001.

Interim D11-3-1: Marking of Imported Goods
This interim memorandum replaces only the Appendix G of Memorandum D11-3-1, Marking of Imported Goods, dated February 18, 1998.

Customs Notices


The following is now available on the CBSA Web site:

Customs Notice 09-015: Adopting Electronic Export Reporting

This notice is to inform the export community that the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is reviewing the Reporting of Exported Goods Regulations (Regulations). The CBSA aims to complete this review by the summer of 2010.

U.S. House Defeats Sweeping Reform of Food Safety


The U.S. House defeated a proposed sweeping reform of the federal food safety system on Wednesday amid complaints it would bury small farmers in paperwork with no assurance of an increase in inspections. The bill was debated under special rules that limited debate to 40 minutes with no amendments allowed and a two-thirds majority needed for passage. It fell eight votes short, 280-150.

The bill would give the Food and Drug Administration the power to order food recalls, step up the frequency of plant inspections, require facilities to have a food safety plan in place and give FDA more access to company records.

Democrats predominantly voted for the bill and most Republicans voted against it. But there was a sizable cross-over – four dozen Republicans voted for the bill. Two dozen Democrats opposed it Read more here.

WTO Farm Deal Would Open China’s Markets Significantly, Study Finds

(Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest)

A global trade deal at the WTO would lead to significant cuts in China’s already-low agricultural tariffs, new ICTSD research shows.

As governments renew efforts to clinch a deal in the ongoing Doha Round of trade talks, the study shows that the draft accord would cut China’s maximum permitted ‘bound’ farm tariffs by around one sixth - despite current rates already being one quarter of the average world tariff level. Because China’s actual applied tariff levels are close to these bound levels, most cuts would translate directly into new market access for exporters.

“China is one of the least protected markets for agricultural products in the developing world,” notes the author of the study, Professor Tian Zhihong of the China Agricultural University.

The study shows that tariff rates would be brought down to 13% from an initial average of 15%, after accounting for gentler tariff cuts for products deemed to be ‘sensitive’ and for those considered important for food security and livelihoods. With 900 million people working in agriculture, and a growing income gap between cities and the countryside, China has emphasised the need to shield key products from cuts. Read more here.

Partners in Protection Program (PIP) Update


Partners in Protection (PIP) is a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) program that enlists the cooperation of private industry to enhance border and trade chain security, combat organized crime and terrorism and help detect and prevent contraband smuggling.

It is a voluntary program with no membership fee that aims to secure the trade chain, one partnership at a time. Industry strongly supports the PIP program and greatly values the commitment of PIP members to do their part, together with the CBSA, to secure the supply chain and facilitate legitimate trade.

Be on this list of participating PIP members: (last update July 10, 2009)

PIP Legacy Members (last updated May 29, 2009): Legacy Members are those who joined PIP before new security requirements were introduced on June 30, 2008. PIP legacy members have until March 31, 2009 to re-apply under the modernized program. As of April 1st 2009, only those legacy members that have re-applied and are awaiting approval are listed.

Note: Only members that have given permission to publish their names are included / listed.April 28th, 2009: updated list here

Keep in mind PIP is the security component for FAST into Canada! Don’t risk your current FAST approvals!

Contact us today! Let us assist you in meeting your security responsibility into Canada!

FOR FOR MORE INFORMATION : Visit the CBSA website or call 519-966-9821

Canada-U.S. Price Gap Narrows

(Toronto Star)

BMO economist says strong loonie and consumer outcry helped close gap to 6.8% from 18% last year

Canadians are paying a little bit more than Americans for cars, cameras and drills. But we're paying a whole lot more for CDs, chainsaws and barbecues, a new report has found.

On average, Canadians are paying 6.8 per cent more than Americans for a select basket of items, down from 18 per cent a year ago.

“Given the wild swings we've had in the currency, I would say that's not a big gap at all,” said Doug Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Capital Markets. Read more here.

Related: Canadian dollar at highest level in 10 months (Financial Post)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Canada Needs to Put Its House in Order, Too

(David Hale — Financial Post)

It is difficult to imagine the United States and Canada having a trade war after signing a free-trade deal in 1988 that was later broadened under NAFTA to include Mexico. Yet the rhetoric around trade on both sides of the border has been heating up. California recently cancelled an order for Ontario steel. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities voted by a margin of 189-175 in June to exclude U.S. companies from infrastructure projects funded through Canadian cities.

The fact that both countries are federations has produced a unique trade conflict centering on state and provincial government procurement policies, one that could have been avoided if Canada and the United States had properly finished the trade deal they began negotiating in the late 1980s. That conflict can now be resolved if both governments finally address omissions of the past. Read more here.

The Canada-U.S. Bilateral Ledger

(Embassy – Leslie Campbell)

Where Canada is winning and losing in Obama’s America

The annual August Congressional break always seems to prompt pundits to tally the administration’s legislative successes and failures. President Obama’s recent record was judged a wash as the session drew to an end.

While the defeat of bills that would have authorized $1.75 billion for procuring seven F22 fighter jets and that would have extended concealed weapons rights to apply between states were considered Obama victories, the announcement that health reform would be delayed until fall, and possibly the end of the year, was judged one of the president’s few sour notes.

The looming summer break also occasioned some informal surveys of President Obama’s overall record thus far. Except for the pundits of the farthest reaches on the right, he’s been deemed successful by almost any measure put forward.

Unfortunately, a mid-year review of Canada-U.S. relations under Obama wouldn’t be quite as rosy, although the fundamental friendship, of course, remains fully intact. Read more here.

Cabinet Ministers Differ on Whether Recession Is Actually Over

(The Canadian Press)

Conservative cabinet ministers aren’t all singing from the same songbook when it comes to the recession.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Tuesday he’s not ready to declare the recession over, as the governor of the Bank of Canada did last week. But Trade Minister Stockwell Day supported the bank’s analysis in a newspaper column Monday.

“I’m not kidding. The recession is over,” Day wrote in the Penticton Western News on Monday. “Last week, after poring over all the numbers (Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney) was able to declare, not on whim but based on economic fact that the nasty ‘R’ word no longer applied to Canada.” Day added Canada still faces challenges but the economy is showing initial signs of recovery. Read more here.

Related: Correspondence from John McCallum to Jim Flaherty.

Railway Carloadings Down in May

(Statistics Canada)

The Canadian railway industry loaded 19.1 million metric tonnes in May, down 21.4% from the same month in 2008. The drop in tonnage was the result of decreased freight loadings in both non-intermodal and intermodal railway transportation systems.

Compared with May last year, non-intermodal loadings fell 22.0% to 17.0 million metric tonnes in May. The decline was widespread, as the majority of commodity groups registered decreased activity. Among the commodity groups with the largest declines in tonnage were potash, coal, iron ore and concentrates, iron and steel (primary or semi-finished), lumber and other cereal grains.

Although overall non-intermodal loadings fell in May, a number of commodity groups saw strong gains in tonnage loaded, including wheat, colza seeds (canola) and fresh, chilled or dried vegetables.

Intermodal loadings declined 16.4% from May 2008 to 2.1 million metric tonnes. The drop stemmed from declines in both containers and trailers loaded onto flat cars.

Rail freight traffic coming from the United States fell 29.4% from May 2008 to 2.0 million metric tonnes. Complete statistic here.

Food Safety Bill to Omit Brokers

(Journal of Commerce Online – R.G.Edmonson)

Amended legislation will not include penalties for brokers, say lobbyists

Customs brokers apparently lobbied successfully to remove language from a bill that would have given the Food and Drug Administration the authority to license and penalize them for violations of a new food safety bill.

Jon Kent, lobbyist for the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America, said that the House Ways and Means Committee will send an amended Food Safety Improvement Act of 2009 to the House floor on Wednesday without the clauses that raised a storm of protest in the broker community. Read more here.

Mexican Truck Program Revival Clears First Hurdles

(Today’s Trucking)

A plan to allow Mexican trucks to once again cross the American border beyond the longstanding 25-mile restriction zone moved another step closer to reality. According to The Washington Times, a new proposal to reopen the border to select Mexican carriers has gone through all the interagency channels and will be passed along to Capital Hill for a vote.

President Obama has been under pressure by trucking and trade groups to reestablish a version of the Bush Administration’s two year-old, cross-border pilot program he cancelled shortly after taking office.

Saying the move was a breach of NAFTA, Mexico retaliated immediately by slapping tariffs on about 90 U.S. import products.

Now that a new cross-border program has cleared bureaucratic review, businesses interests are hoping the tariffs on $2.4 billion worth of U.S. goods will soon end.

EU Commission Publishes Annual Report on US Trade and Investment Barriers

(Europa Online)

The European Commission has published its annual report on barriers to trade and investment in the United States. The report focuses on some key trade barriers and measures that prevent EU exporters from tapping into the full potential of the US market. It notes some continuing concerns and highlights a number of new barriers introduced in 2008.

Only a small proportion of EU-US trade is affected by trade disputes, but raising and addressing these issues helps to boost confidence in the transatlantic marketplace and allows exporters to reap the full benefits available.

• The report highlights positive outcomes in the long-running dispute over hormone-treated beef and in the EU-US first-stage Air Transport Agreement, which creates new opportunities for EU air carriers to operate in the US

• The report reiterates concerns about U.S. legislation governing ports and freight, in particular with respect to the potential costs of the scanning requirement and its impact on EU supply chains. It also highlights problems arising from the complexity of US regulatory systems and regulatory divergences with the EU which can represent an important structural impediment to market access.

• Regarding barriers which have been introduced or reinforced in 2008, the report includes details on registration and documentation procedures (Lacey Act), government procurement (Buy America provisions), tariff barriers (multilayer parquet) and sanitary and phytosanitary measures (dairy import assessment).

The European Union and the United States share the largest bilateral trading partnership worldwide, with 33% of world trade in goods and 44% of world trade in services. In 2008, the EU had a surplus of €63 billion in goods trade with the US, importing EUR186 billion while exporting EUR249 billion. Trade in services has continued to grow in both directions, with total trade in services more than EUR266 billion (2007 figures), with an EU surplus of EUR11 billion. The US is also the leading overseas destination for EU investment.

For the full text of the report please go here.

Why America Shouldn’t “Buy American”

(Ted Balaker & Nick Gillespie — Reason TV)

Is your iPod unpatriotic?

Its 451 parts are made in dozens of nations, and creating the little doodads employs thousands of foreigners. Final assembly is done in China-a country that right-wingers and left-wingers alike fear is an economic threat to the U.S.

As the recession worsens, maybe patriotic Americans should be smashing foreign-made iPods in protest. Or at least hiring bikini-clad American women to do the job, which is exactly what did. Our patriotic, sledgehammer-wielding bikini bandits headed to California’s Venice Beach to smash some foreign-made iPods to make a political statement about saving American jobs.

Maybe the United Steelworkers Union (USW), one of the biggest “Buy American” backers would like to hire these patriotic ladies for their next rally.

“Every other nation during this economic downturn is directing their stimulus money inward,” thunders USW’s Billy Thompson at a rally in West Virginia. “Now if they can do it, why in the hell can’t we?”

Actually, we are. President Obama’s $800 billion stimulus package came equipped with a “Buy American” provision, and more than 500 state and local governments have signed “buy American” resolutions. And that may be just the beginning of the protectionist push. went to a Washington, D.C. event where business owners and activists learned how to lobby for more protectionist laws. “If you want to sell it here, build it here,” says one participant who referrs to those who ignore the “buy American” imperative as “uneducated, ignorant people.”

And shouldn’t we be patriotic purchasers? That’s what car ads, draped with Old Glory and heartland visuals, suggest. What could be more patriotic than buying a Jeep Patriot? With American automakers hurting so badly, that’s got to help America.

“That’s nonsense,” says George Mason University economist-and Cafe Hayek blogger-Donald Boudreaux.

“The Jeep Patriot, despite it’s name is actually less American than some Toyota products. It’s literally impossible-at least in any practical sense-to buy American.’”

Boudreaux argues that Americans should buy whatever products they choose; neither guilt nor laws should push them to buy American. “The thing that is most distinctively American is freedom. To insist that Americans should not be free to buy good from foreigners that’s very anti-American.”

And what about your iPod?

Even though plenty of foreigners have jobs thanks to it, so do 14,000 Americans whose duties include designing and marketing the little buggers. So the iPod is a product of America and the world, and these days that describes nearly all the items we buy.

Welcome to the iPod economy, where just about everything is made everywhere.

After hearing the whole story,’s bikini bandits decided to put down their protectionist sledgehammers. Will America’s people, pundits, and politicians follow suit?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

U.S. State Transportation Statistics 2008

(CIFFA eBulletin)

The U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) has released State Transportation Statistics 2008 (STS) – a 140-page reference guide to transportation data by state. The sixth annual STS covers data on infrastructure, safety, freight transportation, passenger travel, registered vehicles and vehicle-miles traveled economy and finance, and energy and environment.

Trade Protectionism: We Don’t Buy It

(Rachel Pulfer — Canadian Business)

If you're mad about Buy American, here's the good news: so are Americans.

Of all the sectors due to receive stimulus money under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, waste-water management was supposedly one of the most “shovel-ready.” So for Port Washington, Wisc.–based Aquarius Technologies, which makes waste-water treatment equipment, business in freshly stimulated America should be booming. Yet Tom Pokorsky, Aquarius’s president, says that’s not the case. “Almost no new projects have gone forward yet,” he says. “There have been six projects, worth US$15.6 million in contracts, that have been awarded” — generating a grand total of 17 jobs. “But we have nearly US$7 billion to go, and we’ve only got about two years in which it can be spent.”

What’s the holdup? “Buy American,” Pokorsky replies. “No one can figure out how the heck to comply with it.” Read more here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

At a Border Crossing, Security Trumps Openness

(Nicolai Ouroussoff — New York Times)

It has been nearly eight years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but the fears and anxieties they gave rise to continue to take a toll on the design of public buildings. Even the words “United States,” it seems — when spelled out in the wrong size and color — can be an unacceptable security risk.

Four years ago, when the federal General Services Administration unveiled its plans for a new border-crossing station here in northeastern New York State, the design was presented as part of the agency’s campaign to raise the dismal standards of government architecture. Even many in the famously fractious architectural community celebrated the complex — particularly its main building, emblazoned with glossy yellow, 21-foot-high letters spelling “United States” — as a rare project the government could point to with pride.

The Customs and Border Protection agency of the Department of Homeland Security seemed to like it too. After years of working closely with the architects, the New York firm of Smith-Miller & Hawkinson, the agency signed off on the final version of the project in 2007.

Yet three weeks ago, less than a month after the station opened, workers began prying the big yellow letters off the building’s facade on orders from Customs and Border Protection. The plan is to dismantle the rest of the sign this week. Read more here.

Canada to Launch Protest Against Seal Product Ban

(CTV News)

Canada will launch a formal protest with the World Trade Organization over a ban on the import of seal products approved by the European Union, International Trade Minister Stockwell Day announced Monday.

The ban, which was approved Monday at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, would be implemented in all 27 EU member countries over the next nine months, in time for Canada's next seal hunt. Read more here.

Demise of Dollar as International Currency?

(Fora TV)

Niall Ferguson and James Fallows debate the statement by Zhou Xiaochuan, head of China’s central bank, calling for the replacement of the dollar as the dominant world currency with the creation of an international reserve currency.

View the complete video Fora TV.

Related: Mercosur Promotes Use Of Local Currencies For Regional Trade (WSJ)

Friday, July 24, 2009

WCO Recommended Tariff Schedule Changes Slated to Take Effect January 1, 2012

(World Trade Interactive)

The World Customs Organization has posted to its Web site a list of recommended amendments to the Harmonized System nomenclature that are scheduled to enter into force January 1, 2012. Affected goods include certain animals and animal products, foods and agricultural products (fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, spices, etc.), chemical substances, wood products, textile products, machinery, furniture and video game consoles (see attached for the full list). These recommendations were adopted by the WCO Council in June and member countries now have six months to register any objections.

Read more here. Source document available here (PDF).

Japan Warns Against Buy American Provisions

(Journal of Commerce Online – Alan M. Field)

Letter to U.S. Trade Representative asks for change in appropriations bill

The government of Japan sent a letter of concern to the United States concerning the Buy American provision included in an appropriations bill recently passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, an anonymous official in the Japanese Foreign Ministry told Reuters.

In the letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Japan's Ambassador to the United States, Ichiro Fujisaki, expressed concern about a provision in the House appropriations bill for energy and water development that said funds should not be used to buy cars other than those manufactured by Ford, GM or Chrysler, the so-called 'Big Three' U.S. manufacturers. The U.S. Senate will soon vote on the bill.

In the letter, Ambassador Fujisaki asked USTR Kirk to urge the Senate to exclude that provision from the appropriations bill, the official said. Read more here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

B.C. to Harmonize Sales Tax with GST

(Patrick Brethour — Globe & Mail)

British Columbia will harmonize its provincial sales tax with the federal GST, B.C. Finance Minister Colin Hansen has just announced.

The harmonized sales tax in B.C. will be 12 per cent, the lowest for those provinces that have agreed to combine their provincial sales taxes with the GST, he said in a press conference this morning.

B.C. Finance Minister: Read the official announcement

The change, to take effect on July 1, 2010, will reduce sales taxes paid by business by $1.9-billion and save businesses $150-million in administrative costs.

That's the same date that Ontario will make the leap to a harmonized sales tax, or HST – a change that spurred British Columbia’s move.

“B.C. cannot be left behind,” Mr. Hansen said. Read more here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Conference Board Predicts Tepid U.S. Economic Recovery

(CBC News)

The U.S. economy will begin to grow again this year, but the pace of recovery is expected to be tepid, the Conference Board of Canada said in new report issued Wednesday. U.S. gross domestic product is projected to shrink by 2.5% in 2009, the research group said.

Pointing to modest signs of a rebound in the housing sector, along with the beginning of some stabilization in household spending, the Conference Board said real GDP is expected to grow by a slow 1.8% in 2010.

“Recent indicators suggest that the severe recession gripping the U.S. economy since late 2007 is slowly winding down,” said Kip Beckman, a principal research associate at the Conference Board. “Canada was in a better position going into the recession and will post a comparatively stronger rebound in 2010. But the deep hole that the U.S. economy dug for itself means that a full recovery from the current recession will take several years.” Read more here.

Honey Might Need Country-of-Origin Labeling

(Farm and Dairy)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is soliciting comments on its interim final rule for country-of-origin labeling of honey. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service is establishing a new regulation addressing country-of-origin labeling for packed honey bearing any official USDA mark or statement.

Under the new farm bill, the regulations governing inspection and certification would be amended to include a provision for country-of origin-labeling requirements for packed honey, and for debarment of services if the labeling requirements are not met for packages of honey containing official USDA grade marks or statements.

The 2008 farm bill requires that packaged honey, bearing any combination of USDA marks or statements, must also display the name or names of the one or more countries of origin of the lot or container, permanently in close proximity to the USDA marks or statement – such as on the same side(s) or surface(s), of a comparable size to the USDA marks or statements, and are preceded by the words “Product of” or other words of similar meaning.

To allow the industry to clear the market of labels that do not comply with the new rules, this interim final rule becomes effective October 6.

Written comments must be received by September 8 and should be sent to Chere L. Shorter, Processed Products Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, Stop 0247, 1400 Independence Avenue S.W., Washington, DC 20250-0247; e-mailed to ; or faxed to 202- 690-1527. Electronic copies should be submitted to

Chamber Releases Report on the Canada-U.S. Border

(Canadian Chamber of Commerce)

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with 47 business associations from both sides of the border, today issued a joint report on Finding the Balance: Shared Border of the Future (PDF–32 pages). Following up on their 2008 report, this paper offers specific recommendations to reduce border costs in the short-term while increasing security at the border and competitiveness of all industries.

“Our countries share this common border and must work together to improve the flow of trade and people,” said Tom Donohue, President and CEO, of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Businesses rely on an efficient, predictable border to ensure profitability and growth. For the world’s largest trading partnership to expand during the recession, cooperation is essential.”

The report puts forward recommendations for both governments to act on within the next 18 months to improve our economies. These proposals include:

• steps to streamline border wait times;

• implementing trusted shipper programs to enhance supply chain security without imposing a one-size-fits-all regulatory burden on businesses;

• enacting the NEXUS program to expedite clearance for 1 million low-risk travellers;

• offer preclearance of goods and people beyond the currently defined “border” area; and

• provide funding for a single electronic filing system.

The border facilitates the largest bilateral trading relationship in the world, with $1.6 billion in two-way trade and 300,000 travellers crossing the border on a daily basis. Thirty-seven of the fifty U.S. states rely on Canada as their largest export market. More than 10 million jobs rely on this relationship including 7.1 million jobs in the United States and 3 million jobs in Canada.

“The business community is looking for action from both governments to fix the structural problems at the border,” said Beatty. “We are providing both governments with practical recommendations to ensure we come out of this economic downturn stronger and more competitive.”

In addition to 47 business associations, the Canadian Chamber and U.S. Chamber had the support of its four sponsors: Con-Way Inc., MDS Nordion, Casco Inc., and Purolator.

Related: Chambers of Commerce Argue Against Border “Thickening” (HS Today)

CPSC Eases Up on Tracking Label Rule

(Kids Today)

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission members voted unanimously this week to approve a draft statement that will give manufacturers credit for “good faith” compliance with the tracking label requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act that go into effect next month.

“I believe that the guidance unanimously approved by the Commission... will help to achieve the goals of improved recall effectiveness and better protection of consumers while also providing industry with assurance that the Commission does not intend to penalize manufacturers for inadvertent violations of the statute when they have made a good faith effort in attempting to comply with the tracking label requirements,” said Inez Tenenbaum, CPSC’s newly appointed chairman.

Section 103(a) of the CPSIA requires manufacturers to place permanent, distinguishing marks on children’s products and the packaging “to the extent practicable” as aid for parents and retailers to quickly recognize whether a toy they own or stock is the same as one involved in a recall.

The regulation has caused several concerns, three of which Tenenbaum acknowledged in her statement: that one size does not fit all when it comes to tracking labels; that small volume manufacturers say they can’t feasibly comply with the statute because their production patterns “do not lend themselves to lot, batch and run labeling systems”; and that confusion over how to meet the requirements comes too late to meet the August 14 deadline for enacting them.

Click here to see the CPSC’s new interpretation and policy statement about Section103(a).

According to Commissioner Nancy Nord, “It is important to note that the guidance issued today probably will not be the last word on this important issue.”

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Canada Buys Land for New Bridge to Detroit

(The Canadian Press)

The Canadian government has paid $34 million for a piece of property as a preliminary move to build a new bridge to Detroit, Transport Canada said Monday.

The 94-acre purchase, from the City of Windsor, is less than half of the Canadian land needed for the new facility.

The federal government is still in talks with Canadian residential and industrial owners for another 108 acres.

Additional information available here.

Bureaucratic Glitch Torpedoes 'Buy American' Law for TSA

(McClatchy Newspapers – Barbara Barrett)

When freshman Rep. Larry Kissell, D-N.C., successfully amended the economic stimulus bill last winter to prevent airport-security uniforms from being made overseas, the textile industry lauded his activism in protecting American jobs.

A bureaucratic glitch has put much of the Kissell Amendment on hold, however, potentially threatening hundreds of manufacturing jobs and putting tens of millions of domestic manufacturing dollars at risk.

For now, Transportation Security Administration uniforms, which would have to be made completely in the United States under the new law, still can be manufactured in Mexico, Canada or Chile, all because of an oversight that happened years before Kissell even was elected.

The three nations never were told that airport security uniforms might be included in a "buy American" clause someday. So until new international deals can be negotiated, those countries are free to bid on new textiles.

"Obviously, this is a matter that needs to be fixed," said Auggie Tantillo, the executive director of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, an organization that's dedicated to preserving domestic manufacturing jobs. "The value of the Kissell Amendment is undermined by this glitch." Read more here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Guidelines on Liquidated Damages for Importer Security Filing Violations

(CBP via World Trade Interactive)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued in the July 17, 2009, Customs Bulletin and Decisions a general notice setting forth guidelines on the assessment and cancellation of claims for liquidated damages incurred by importers and vessel carriers for failure to comply with the importer security filing (10+2) rule.

Under the ISF rule importers are required to submit ten additional data elements for shipments entering the U.S., 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. In addition, carriers are generally required to submit two additional data elements for containers loaded on vessels destined to the U.S., a vessel stow plan and container status messages.

Importer Security Filing – Failure to File

• Liquidated damages cannot be assessed for failure to file an ISF if no bond is in place.

• If goods for which an ISF has not been filed arrive in the U.S., CBP will withhold the release or transfer of the cargo until it receives the required ISF information and has had the opportunity to review the documentation and conduct any necessary examination.

• CBP reserves the right to limit the permit to unlade so as to not permit unlading of merchandise for which no ISF has been filed. If such cargo is unladen without permission, it may be subject to seizure. All seizures will be approved by CBP headquarters.

Importer Security Filing – Late or Inaccurate Filing

• Port directors may assess claims for liquidated damages in the amount of $5,000 per ISF for (a) late filed ISFs, (b) inaccurate ISFs or ISF updates, and (c) failure to withdraw an ISF when required. Penalties may be assessed, with CBP headquarters approval, for serious or repetitive violations.

• Liquidated damages claims for late ISFs or inaccurate ISFs or ISF updates may be canceled, provided CBP determines that law enforcement goals were not compromised by the violation, upon payment of (a) between $1,000 and $2,000 (depending on the presence of mitigating or aggravating factors) for the first violation and (b) not less than $2,500 for subsequent violations.
• Mitigating factors include evidence of progress in implementing the ISF requirement during the flexible enforcement period (i.e., Jan. 26, 2009, through Jan. 26, 2010), small number of violations compared to the number of shipments for which ISFs were required, certification as Tier 2 or Tier 3 member of the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, demonstrated remedial action to prevent future violations, and vessel diversion due to factors outside the ISF importer’s control. For inaccurate filings, if the importer acquired information from another party in accordance with ordinary commercial practices and can demonstrate that it reasonably believed the information to be true and was not reasonably able to verify the information, this will be considered an extraordinary mitigating factor that may warrant cancellation of a claim without payment.

• Aggravating factors include lack of cooperation with CBP or impeding CBP activity with regard to the case, evidence of actual or attempted smuggling (this may be considered an extraordinary aggravating factor), multiple errors on the ISF, and a rising error rate indicative of deteriorating performance

Vessel Stow Plans

• When a carrier arrives at a port of entry where a vessel stow plan is required, port directors may assess a claim for liquidated damages against the carrier in the amount of $50,000 per plan when a complete, accurate and timely plan is not submitted. A claim for liquidated damages in the amount of $50,000 may be assessed for each vessel arrival. Penalties may be assessed, with CBP headquarters approval, for serious or repetitive violations.

• For failure to file, liquidated damages claims may be canceled, provided CBP determines that law enforcement goals were not compromised by the violation, upon the payment of (a) between $5,000 and $25,000 (depending on the presence of mitigating or aggravating factors) for a first violation and (b) $25,000 for subsequent violations.

• For late and inaccurate filings, liquidated damages claims may be canceled, provided CBP determines that law enforcement goals were not compromised by the violation, upon the payment of (a) between $2,500 and $10,000 (depending on the presence of mitigating or aggravating factors) for a first violation and (b) not less than $5,000 for subsequent violations.

• Mitigating factors include evidence of progress in the implementation of the vessel stow plan requirement during the flexible enforcement period, vessel diversion due to factors outside of the carrier’s control, validation and good standing in C-TPAT, and demonstrated remedial action to prevent future violations. Demonstrating that the carrier acquired the information from another party in accordance with ordinary commercial practices, reasonably believed this information to be true and was not reasonably able to verify the information is an extraordinary mitigating factor that may warrant cancellation of a claim without payment.

• Aggravating factors include lack of cooperation with CBP or impeding CBP activity with regard to the case, evidence of actual or attempted smuggling (this may be considered an extraordinary aggravating factor), multiple errors on the vessel stow plan, and a rising error rate indicative of deteriorating performance.

Container Status Messages

• Port directors may assess claims for liquidated damages against carriers in the amount of $5,000 per CSM for failing to submit a CSM, late filing a CSM, or submitting an inaccurate CSM. Such claims may be assessed up to a maximum of $100,000 per vessel arrival. Penalties may be assessed for serious or repetitive violations.

• For failure to file, liquidated damages claims may be canceled, provided CBP determines that law enforcement goals were not compromised by the violation, upon the payment of (a) between $1,000 and $2,000 (depending on the presence of mitigating or aggravating factors) for a first violation and (b) $2,500 for subsequent violations.

• For late and inaccurate filings, liquidated damages claims may be canceled, provided CBP determines that law enforcement goals were not compromised by the violation, upon the payment of (a) between $500 and $1,000 (depending on the presence of mitigating or aggravating factors) for a first violation and (b) not less than $1,500 for subsequent violations.

• Mitigating factors will include evidence of progress in the implementation of the CSM requirement during the flexible enforcement period, small number of violations compared to the number of CSMs submitted, validation and good standing in C-TPAT, and demonstrated remedial action to prevent future violations. Demonstrating that the carrier acquired the information from another party in accordance with ordinary commercial practices, reasonably believed this information to be true and was not reasonably able to verify the information is an extraordinary mitigating factor that may warrant cancellation of a claim without payment.

• Aggravating factors include lack of cooperation with CBP or impeding CBP activity with regard to the case, evidence of actual or attempted smuggling (this may be considered an extraordinary aggravating factor), multiple errors on the CSM, and a rising error rate indicative of deteriorating performance.

Other Penalties

CBP states that in addition to liquidated damages that may be assessed as provided above, the failure of an arriving carrier or ISF importer to provide the required advance electronic cargo information in the time period and manner prescribed may result in the issuance of a do not load hold, the delay or denial of a vessel carrier’s preliminary entry permit/special license to unlade and/or the assessment of any other applicable statutory penalty. CBP may also withhold the release or transfer of the cargo until it receives the required information and has had the opportunity to review the documentation and conduct any necessary examination.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tackling ‘Buy America’

(Toronto Star)

The federal government is putting the onus on the provinces to take the first step toward resolving the trade dispute with the United States over "Buy America" requirements tied to U.S. infrastructure funding.

As the Star’s Les Whittington reported on Friday, federal Trade Minister Stockwell Day wants the provinces to sign on to a declaration committing them (and their municipalities) not to discriminate against American companies bidding for infrastructure contracts here. This declaration would then be taken to Washington as a peace offering of sorts: you stop discriminating against our products and we’ll stop discriminating against yours. […]

The problem with Day’s proposed compromise is that it rests on two presuppositions that are shaky at best.

The first is that Canadian provinces and municipalities are already discriminating against American products in their own infrastructure spending. There is scant evidence that they are.

The second is that the U.S. Congress attached Buy America clauses to infrastructure funding in retaliation against Canada. Again, there is little evidence to support this.

Read the complete editorial here.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Updated Information on Damages, Penalties for Wood Packaging Violations

(World Trade Interactive)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has recently posted to its Web site an updated list of answers to frequently asked questions concerning the regulations on how imported wood packaging material must be treated before it can enter the U.S. The updated information concerns the imposition of liquidated damages and penalties.

Under the WPM regulations, which have been in full force since July 5, 2006, all WPM entering or transiting through the U.S. must be properly marked to indicate that it has been either heat treated or treated with methyl bromide in accordance with the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures: Guidelines for Regulating Wood Packaging Material in International Trade (ISPM 15). Such WPM must also be free of timber pests. […]

CBP now states that liquidated damages will be assessed when a party fails to comply with the terms of an emergency action notice, which will be issued when WPM entering the U.S. does not adhere to the required treatment. As a result, liquidated damages claims will not be assessed for the mere importation of violative WPM, but instead will be assessed for non-compliance with the EAN issued as a result of the importation of violative WPM. Read more here.

Kenny Opposes Twinning Bridge

(Chris Thompson — The Windsor Star)

Senators assessing security issues

The twinning of the Ambassador Bridge isn’t needed, the chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence said during a whirlwind tour of the bridge’s Canadian security operation Thursday.

“I don’t think it should be at this location,” said Liberal Senator Colin Kenny, who toured the bridge plaza along with committee deputy chairwoman Conservative Senator Pamela Wallin.

“The idea of twinning this facility makes no sense because if this facility went down, you’d lose both of them,” he said.

“So, let’s have it at another location.” Read more here.

Farmers Critical of Food Safety Bill

(Los Angeles Times – Kristina Sherry)

A House panel holds a hearing over legislation that would expand the FDA's powers and add regulations and fees.

Farming and ranching representatives appeared before a congressional panel Thursday to express concern that a major bill pending in the House could unnecessarily complicate the marketplace without improving food safety.

Amid recent health scares involving cookie dough and pistachios, the Obama administration has pledged to modernize the food safety system. Lawmakers are considering the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, aimed at broadening the Food and Drug Administration's powers.

The FDA currently regulates about 80% of the food supply, ensuring the safety of domestic and imported food products except for meat and poultry. The Food Safety and Inspection Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is responsible for the remaining 20%, inspecting cattle, sheep, swine and goats before and after slaughter. The two agencies share responsibility for egg safety.

The proposed legislation would, among other things, give the FDA oversight of on-farm production activities, charge facilities an annual $500 registration fee, require additional record keeping, and expand FDA authority to quarantine geographic areas for food safety problems. Read more here.

Russia Lifts Pork Ban from U.S. Wisconsin, Canada

(Reuters – Aleksandras Budrys)

Russia said on Friday it would lift a ban on live pigs and raw pork imports from the U.S. state of Wisconsin and Canada's Ontario province from July 18 due to what it said was a "stabilization" of the situation of the H1N1 virus in those places.

The animal and plant health watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor said it now applies a ban on imports of live pigs and uncooked pork from only one U.S. state – Florida, as well as the whole of Great Britain and three Japanese prefectures.

Bans will no longer be applied to Canada from July 18. Read more here.

Tariff Notice - TN-44


The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) wishes to advise you of changes to the 2009 Departmental Consolidation of the Customs Tariff that will be released as the T2009-6 Amending package.

That package will reflect changes pursuant to Bill C-24, An Act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the Republic of Peru, the Agreement on the Environment between Canada and the Republic of Peru and the Agreement on Labour Cooperation between Canada and the Republic of Peru. These changes are effective August 1, 2009 and will be reflected in the Customs Commercial System (CCS) on that date. Pursuant to this Free Trade Agreement, a new Tariff Treatment will be created for Peru (PT); Code 25 will apply. The numbering or description of certain current tariff items are impacted by this Free Trade Agreement.

The classification and tariff code files will be available the week of July 27, 2009. Given that this will be a large update, the classification and tariff code flags have been turned off until this update has been done. Please note a new Tariff Treatment is being added to most classification numbers, and as such, the update will be larger than the year end files. Due to the size of the files, they will not be downloaded into your system. You will be able to access the files in CADEX format on the CBSA website.

Time to End the U.S. Dispute with Mexico Over Trucks and Tariffs on U.S. Products

(Seattle Times – Kate Riley)

Mexico's tariffs on more than 90 U.S. products are taking their toll on affected manufacturers and producers. Meanwhile, Mexico says if the U.S. doesn't comply with the North American Free Trade Agreement and permit U.S. trucks in the U.S., a second round of sanctions could be imposed.

Nothing good comes from neighbors feuding. Bound by proximity, they must find ways to work things out.Nevertheless, Congress and President Obama did the rough equivalent of blocking the neighbor's driveway by ending a pilot project permitting Mexican trucks to bring cargo into the United States – a practice authorized in the North American Free Trade Agreement. Congress enacted and Obama signed in March a spending bill that stopped funding the experiment that, by many accounts, including a federal report, was successful.

Mexico retaliated with steep tariffs on more than 90 U.S. products, which is squeezing Washington potato and pear, apricot and cherry producers, among others. Read the complete editorial here.



The following are now available on the CBSA Web site:

D13-1-3: Customs Valuation: Purchaser in Canada Regulations (Customs Act, Section 48)

Memorandum D13-1-3 has been revised to reflect amendments to the Customs Act concerning the valuation of imported goods.

D13-4-13: Post-Importation Payments or Fees “Subsequent Proceeds”

This memorandum provides information on the treatment of post-importation payments and management or administration fees referred to as “subsequent proceeds” in the calculation of the value for duty made under the transaction value method. The memorandum also includes new references to sources of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) information.

Premiers Haggle Over ‘Buy USA’

(Les Whittington — Toronto Star)

Ottawa stuck waiting for provinces to approve trade-rule compromise before approaching U.S. on fairer bidding policies

Canadian companies are being shut out of prized contracts in the United States while Ottawa and the provinces dicker over a proposed trade-rules compromise that U.S. President Barack Obama could use to try to weaken Buy America policies.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Obama discussed the explosive protectionism issue on the sidelines of the G8 summit in Italy last week. It’s clear the U.S. administration is waiting for Ottawa’s proposal before moving forward with its bid to slow the Buy America juggernaut being propelled by state and local governments.

“The ball is definitely in our court,” Trade Minister Stockwell Day said in an interview. Read more here.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Supporters Cite Economic, Employment Gains in Pushing for Misc. Trade Bill

(World Trade Interactive)

The Tariff Action Coalition, a group of domestic chemical and other companies, released July 10 a report arguing that congressional approval of a miscellaneous trade bill this year would have a positive effect on domestic economic output and employment. The MTB would lower or suspend tariffs on imports of key manufacturing and production inputs that are not made in the U.S. or where there is no domestic opposition. Supporters are seeking to push lawmakers to enact an MTB before current duty breaks provided under the last MTB expire at the end of this year.

The report estimates that the tariff suspension bills now being considered by Congress as part of a potential MTB would result in $4.6 billion in additional domestic production, which would expand real gross domestic product by $3.5 billion and support nearly 90,000 U.S. jobs. The report notes that the economic benefits derived from the MTB are proportionately higher than those derived from other types of tariff reductions (e.g., under free trade agreements) because there is no domestic production of MTB products that would be displaced by rising imports. Read more here.

Western Europe: Leader or Laggard?

(Economic Development Canada – Peter G. Hall)

A year ago, Europe was being touted as the resilient zone. Inflation was the big worry, not recession. Interest rates were hiked 25 basis points on July 9th, 2008. But the zone’s analysts were wrong. Along with the rest of the world, Europe tumbled. Brighter signs have emerged recently, enough to prompt calls for a scaling-back of government stimulus. Is Europe poised to lead the world back to growth?

It certainly didn’t look that way a few weeks ago. Europeans were shocked enough by the 6.8% annualized drop in output in the final months of 2008, but the 9.1% slump in the January-March period was a stunning blow. Most other big economies also contracted in the quarter, but Europe’s accelerated decline set it apart from all other zones. Economic momentum was clearly in the wrong direction, and led to significant downgrades of the pan-European growth forecast for 2009.

Recent signals are more upbeat. Industrial production posted gains in Germany, France and Italy during May. The trade balance for the Eurozone marched further into the black during the month. Germany also saw a surprising surge in new manufacturing orders in May, and both business and investor confidence are on the upswing, kindling hopes that recovery is imminent.

Click here to read more or watch the video.

D-Memos & Customs Notices


Interim D11-3-1: Marking of Imported Goods

This interim memorandum replaces only the Appendix G of Memorandum D11-3-1, Marking of Imported Goods, dated February 18, 1998.

D2-2-1: Settlers’ Effects – Tariff Item No. 9807.00.00

• Revisions made to this memorandum are the result of regulatory changes to the definition of a settler and procedural changes.

• We have included limitations in the importation of unmarked tobacco products for personal use, as per the Excise Act, 2001.

CN09-015: Adopting Electronic Export Reporting

This notice is to inform the export community that the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is reviewing the Reporting of Exported Goods Regulations (Regulations). The CBSA aims to complete this review by the summer of 2010.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Toward a Better Border

(Canadian International Council/Brookings Institute)

Christopher Sands, Senior Fellow — Hudson Institute

Executive Summary

In an age of international terrorism and illegal immigration, a well-functioning border is vital for homeland security. For the United States and Canada, however, it is also vital for national prosperity, for each is the other’s largest trading partner, and much of that trade is in intermediate goods that support the bi-national production of finished products, most notably autos. Roughly 400,000 individuals cross the border every day, many with deadlines for delivering cargo or reporting to work. This trade and travel supports jobs throughout both countries.

Since 9/11, however, security concerns have trumped economic ones, leading to delays and higher costs for the cross-border movement of people and goods. Several initiatives have attempted to address these problems, most notably the U.S.-Canada Smart Border Action Plan and the Security and Prosperity Partnership. They have achieved some success, but the unfortunate reality is that the border today remains a source of considerable user frustration and economic drag. This report focuses on the policy process itself and on the conditions that shape its outcomes. In particular, it argues that progress requires taking greater account of the variety of ways in which the border is used by different categories of users in different places.

There are four geographically distinct corridors or “gateways” along the U.S.-Canada border: the Cascadian gateway in the Pacific Northwest, the Great Lakes gateway in the Midwest, the extensive Rural gateway in less populated areas, and the continent spanning Perimeter gateway. Each requires a different mix of technology and infrastructure to respond to unique regional conditions.

There are also five identifiable types of U.S.-Canadian border users: Commercial shippers, energy shippers, regular commuters, amateur travelers, and, of course, illicit border crossers. Each is found in varying degrees within the four border regions, further enriching the heterogeneity of the border. Yet the post-2001 border strategy has emphasized uniformity, with one-sizefits- all rules that ignore this diversity, and at times have falsely equated conditions at the U.S.-Canadian border with those at the more difficult U.S.-Mexican border.

At present, borderlands communities have no channel for regular input on key policy issues, and regional differences are often overlooked by “one border” rules and programs that result in uneven performance. Some categories of U.S. border users have seen their specific needs addressed, but much more could be done to improve communications and to customize policy implementation. Moreover, the U.S. government agencies concerned with economic flows and those responsible for national security could do far more to reconcile their competing purposes in a fashion that optimizes security and prosperity.

President Obama acknowledged during his visit to Ottawa in February 2009 that too often in the past, the United States has “taken Canada for granted,” allowing problems to fester and opportunities to work together to be lost. Such an opportunity now exists, and not only because there is a new administration in Washington and a new willingness on the part of the Canadians to think boldly about working with the U.S. The current recession has hit the auto industry with particular force, and the auto industry is both the biggest component in U.S.-Canada trade and a prime example of the bi-national integration of North American manufacturing. The “Detroit Three” U.S. auto makers depend on an efficient border, as does Michigan, the state with the nation’s highest unemployment rate. More generally speaking, for many American firms to remain competitive in the global economy, their extensive Canadian supply chains and just-in-time inventory systems must function well, and the current recession makes this an opportune moment to tackle any problems occasioned by the border.

The keys to making the best use of this opportunity are to partially decentralize border policy management and thereby enable problems to be identified and resolved with greater precision and sensitivity to regional concerns. If these process improvements are undertaken by the Obama administration, the underbrush of concerns that fragments responses from regions and user types and bedevils the U.S.- Canadian border could be cleared away, and a path toward an inclusive consensus on the future of the U.S.-Canadian frontier could emerge. In short, the time is right for instituting reforms that will resolve particular problems and open the door to a broader dialogue about a “new frontier” for the 21st century, a truly modern border that could be a place of innovation and serve as a model for progress on the management of other borders. With that in mind, this paper recommends the following:

1) Create and engage a state-level Homeland Security Network;

2) Ensure that performance evaluations of Customs and Border Protection Port Directors and other local representatives of the federal government include assessments of their efforts to develop relationships with local governments and stakeholder groups;

3) Emulate the 30-point U.S.-Canada “Smart Border Action Plan” on a local level;

4) Empower local federal officials in ways that ensure greater lateral communication and resource-sharing without recourse to Washington;

5) Adopt a Total Quality Management (TQM) model of continuous process improvement at the border;

6) Congress should authorize funds for a Border Security Pilot Project Challenge Fund to test new ideas;

7) Publicly adopt a two-speed approach to the Canadian and Mexican borders;

8) Reform but do not abandon the Security and Prosperity Partnership;

9) Form a U.S.-Canada or North American Joint Infrastructure Planning Commission.


U.S. Canada Border Management Policy (PR Newswire)
Toward a New Frontier (CIC) Draft Version
“Toward a Better Border” (CIC/Brookings Institute Conference)
How to fix the mess at the Canada-U.S. (National Post)
More flexibility needed at border: U.S. think-tank (

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New Legislation Would Remove Import Tariffs on Outdoor Apparel

(Outdoor Industry Association)

Legislation to remove import tariffs on recreational performance outerwear was introduced in both the House and Senate July 10. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., said the Optimal Use of Trade to Develop Outerwear and Outdoor Recreation (OUTDOOR) Act (H.R. 3168 and S. 1439) will eliminate duties on jackets and pants used for outdoor activities like skiing and hunting that are not currently made in the U.S. These duties average 17% and can be as high as 28%.

The bills would also require companies benefiting from the tariff elimination to contribute a portion of their savings to the Sustainable Textile and Apparel Research Fund, which would make grants available to certain non-profit organizations to advance U.S. competitiveness in lean manufacturing technologies and supply chain analysis. The STAR Fund grants will be made available through a competitive process administered by the Department of Commerce and are designed to help the global textile and apparel industry minimize energy and water use, reduce waste and global warming emissions, and incorporate sustainable practices into product life cycles. Read more here.

CBP Amends Interim Final Rule on Importer Security Filing

(World Trade Interactive)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has made several amendments to its Nov. 25, 2008, interim final rule concerning the importer security filing (10+2). CBP states that because the rule’s regulatory text was inadvertently silent regarding the time frame for transmitting an ISF for shipments intended to be transported in-bond for immediate exportation or transportation and exportation, this text is now being revised to clarify that the appropriate data elements must be submitted no later than 24 hours before the cargo is laden aboard the vessel at the foreign port.

CBP is also correcting its responses to two comments in the preamble text to align them with the regulatory text. One correction clarifies that carriers are only obligated to transmit container status messages for events that occur prior to first arrival of the goods at a U.S. port. The second indicates that the ISF must be updated if there is a change before the goods enter the limits of the first port of arrival in the U.S. and that amendments to the ISF will be accepted at any time after the goods arrive in a U.S. port.

CTA Voices Border Concerns at Economic Summit

(Canadian Trucking Alliance)

The Canadian Trucking Alliance is concerned that border problems are being masked by the economic downturn and congestion of the past will return unless changes are made. David Bradley, CEO of the CTA, took that message with him when he traveled to the Annual Summit of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER) in Boise, Idaho.

PNWER is a public-private organization comprising five U.S. states (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington), three provinces (Alberta, B.C. and Saskatchewan) as well as the Yukon. Together the regions represent the 11th largest economy in the world. This year’s PNWER summit was held in Boise, ID.

Bradley told the gathering of legislators and business people from the northwest region of the continent that problems at the border are currently being masked by lower volumes of trade reflecting the ongoing recession and therefore fewer cross-border truck trips.

He warned that a return to more normal traffic levels could mean a return to longer delays and less predictability at the busiest border crossings and that “anything that impairs the efficiency, productivity and reliability of the North American supply chain impacts negatively on the region’s ability to compete, to attract direct investment and to take full advantage of economic recovery when it comes.” Read more here.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Canada-U.S. Trucking Sees Bad First-Half

(Journal of Commerce Online – Courtney Tower)

Cross-border trucking over the Ambassador Bridge connecting Detroit to Windsor, Ontario, the busiest commercial connection between the United States and Canada, fell by nearly a third in the first half of this year. At other key crossings, traffic was little better.

There were 173,202 truck crossings either way between Detroit and Windsor, in June, a 32.7% decline from the 257,276 in June of last year, according to the Public Border Operators Association (PBOA). For the first half of this year, to June 30, there were 1.1 million truck crossings, a 31.1% drop from the 1.6 million in the 2008 period.

At the second busiest U.S.-Canada crossing, the Blue Water Bridge between Port Huron, Mich., and Point Edwards, Ontario, the half-year truck crossings were down 24.4 percent, to 621,624 from 822,050. They were down 24% on the month, as well. Read more here.

Related: The Department of Transportation said its freight transportation services index fell 14.8% in May from a year earlier to its lowest level in 12 years. The drop to 94 was the largest May-to-May drop in the 20-year history of TSI calculations, DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics said in its monthly report.

U.S. Senate Approves $42.9 Billion Homeland Security Bill

(Reuters – Jeremy Pelofsky)

The Senate on Thursday approved a wide-ranging $42.9 billion measure to pay for improving U.S. border security, clamp down on illegal immigration and beef up cyber security in fiscal 2010.

The Senate voted 84-6 for the annual spending bill funding the Department of Homeland Security for the year starting October 1, and now lawmakers must work out differences with a $42.6 billion version of the bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives last month. […]

The legislation also includes almost $400 million for cyber security, a 27% increase over fiscal 2009, and comes as several U.S. government websites were attacked in the past few days by hackers. Read more here.

Friday, July 10, 2009

WTO: New Website Database Offers Comprehensive Tariff Information

(World Trade Organization)

The Tariff Download Facility is a comprehensive database of WTO members’ customs tariffs and, where available, imports. The data are the general non-preferential rates (officially known as “most-favoured nation” or MFN rates) and are both the rates actually charged (or “applied”) and countries’ committed maximum rates (legally “bound” in the WTO).

They are disaggregated to the standard level of detail identified by six-digit codes under the World Customs Organization’s internationally agreed “Harmonized System (HS)”. The information on applied tariffs and imports comes from WTO members’ submissions to the WTO’s Integrated Database (IDB); bound rates come from the Consolidated Tariff Schedules (CTS) database covering all WTO members.

The information complements the summary tariff statistics published in the WTO’s World Tariff Profiles. The Tariff Download Facility offers users flexibility in obtaining tariff data across countries, years and products. Data can be downloaded in Excel, XML or CSV formats.

In the Valley

(Export Development Canada – Peter G. Hall)

Like it or not, that’s where the world economy is at present. Six months of freefall down a pretty sheer cliff, and everyone’s still a bit dazed, wondering if this is a V-, a U- or an unusually W-shaped valley. Spirits rose when the freefall ended, but that seems to be giving way to the realization that the trek out of the valley will be prolonged and hazardous. What is the near-term outlook for the economy?

Activity may well have stabilized, but forecasts are still falling. In part, this is catch-up; the economy simply fell further than was expected. But it also reflects the uncertainty of the coming months. EDC’s outlook for the global economy was already weak, but the Summer 2009 Global Export Forecast has been revised downward. We now expect that the world economy will contract this year by 1.7%. To put this in context, normally a world economy in recession would actually see growth of between 1% and 2.5%. The projected contraction is the weakest outcome the planet has seen in six decades.

If there’s good news in the shocking decline, it’s that global commerce is actually working off the huge excesses that piled up in the boom years. The bad news? The pile was so high that we still have a way to go before balance is restored. Plotting a course through this delicate ‘in-between’ zone is tricky. Activity is lower, so cash is tight. Low demand is pummelling prices. It is much more difficult to access capital. Commerce is more tentative, and is expected to remain this way well into 2010. Read more here.

China’s Growth Model Faces Challenges, Says Industry Group

(Industry Week – Adrienne Selko)

MAPI says China's low domestic consumption coupled with low import levels won't help stimulate the global economy, or help the U.S. correct its unsustainable trade deficit.

With amazing consistency, China has expanded at an annual growth rate of 10% over the past three decades en route to its emergence as the second largest economy in the world. Only in recent years, however, has it become more obvious that China’s industry-led, capital intensive growth model with high savings and investment rates comes at a price.

This is of concern to trade deficit countries like the U.S. because their own growth in the future is increasingly tied to China and other emerging markets, explains the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI group.

In its report, "China's Future Growth: Savings, Investment, and Its Rebalancing Goal" the group argues that despite the government's efforts to stimulate consumption and constrain investment spending, China's savings-investment gap has widened further and its trade surplus has continued expanding. As a result, domestic consumption in China is at historically low levels and imports into China remain too weak to help stimulate the global economy, or to help the U.S. correct its unsustainable trade deficit. Read more here.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Canada Requests WTO Panel on South Korea’s Continuing Ban on Canadian Beef

(Minister of International Trade)

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 and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, today [Thursday] announced that the Government of Canada is requesting the establishment of a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement panel on the issue of South Korea’s continuing ban on the importation of Canadian beef.

“Recent consultations with South Korea on its Canadian beef ban regrettably did not produce the desired results,” said Minister Day. “Our request today for a WTO panel demonstrates our ongoing commitment to resolving this issue and defending the interests of Canadian producers.”

“Canadian ranchers produce beef that meets the highest safety and quality standards in the world,” said Minister Ritz. “This government has made it clear to South Korea that we will defend Canadian ranchers, and I delivered that point in person during my trip to Seoul in March 2009. The international scientific community recognizes that Canadian beef is safe, and we are confident a WTO dispute panel would rule in our favour.”

CFIA Labelling and Advertising Website

(Canadian Food Inspection Agency)

CFIA wants to know what you think of the its new labelling and advertising website

The Consumer Protection Division (CPD) has posted an online questionnaire to evaluate the content and design of its labelling website.

All individuals who use the site are encouraged to complete the questionnaire. The results will be incorporated into revisions to the website design. The survey will be available until July 24, 2009 here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

New Plan for Food Safety Unveiled

( via Uptake Video)

President Biden, Chair of the Middle Class Task Force, along with Task Force Members Secretary Sebelius and Secretary Vilsack, announced today the findings of the President’s Food Safety Working Group. President Obama established the group in March to coordinate Federal efforts and develop short- and long-term agendas to make food safer.

Vice President Biden announced key actions that the Obama Administration is taking to improve the safety of the US food supply:

• Strengthening "traceback" so that contaminated food is quickly identified and removed from shelves and that people get quick information about problems;

• Instituting a new salmonella rule to prevent contamination in the egg industry;

• Issuing new FDA guidance to prevent e. coli O157:H7 contamination of leafy greens, melon, and tomatoes; and

• Implementing more thorough inspections to prevent e. coli and other pathogens at facilities that handle beef.

“Our goal is to overhaul the system so we can get better at both stopping food safety problems before they happen and almost as equally important moving quickly, much more quickly, when they do,” Biden said. “We need to create a more comprehensive, more rational, more effective approach to food safety. This is, when you think about it, pretty long overdue.”

Sebelius said that these are not just words on a page but rather are already being put into action. Sebelius and Vilsack also talked about a better trace-back system.

“In order to protect consumers and their families we are going to create a unified incident command system,” Vilsack said. “And within 90 days Federal agencies will implement this new incident command system to address outbreaks of food borne illness.”

They also said they will work to keep consumers in the loop and improve communications. An upgrade is planned to the Food Safety Web site.

Monday, July 6, 2009

China Begins Trial Scheme for Yuan Trade Settlement

(RTT News)

Monday, China has commenced a pilot scheme for companies to settle cross-border trade transactions in the yuan or the renminbi, reports said. Currently, some Shanghai companies have already agreed to settle deals with their Hong Kong and Indonesian trading partners. The move is widely seen as China’s attempt to globalize the use of the yuan in trade transactions, thereby lessening the use of the U. S. dollar. […]

In June, China reiterated its call for a new global reserve currency to replace the U.S. dollar. The People's Bank of China said there is a need to create an international reserve currency with a stable value in the long term to avoid the shortcomings of sovereign currencies for maintaining reserves. Read more here.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

WTO Cuts Trade Forecast, Sees Rising Protectionism

(Industry Week – Agence France-Presse)

Trading volumes of developed economies are now expected to shrink by 14% while those of developing economies contract 7%

The World Trade Organization (WTO) warned Wednesday of rising protectionism amid the economic crisis as it sharply cut its forecast for trade volumes of developed and developing economies this year.

Making its latest assessment of the global economic situation, the WTO also observed that the sharp contraction of the global economy registered in the first quarter this year “appears to be slowing down.” However, citing risks including rising unemployment and oil prices, the organization lowered its forecast of global trade contraction to 10% from its March forecast of a shrinkage of 9%.

Trading volumes of developed economies are now expected to shrink by 14% instead of 10% while those of developing economies would contract 7%, rather than the earlier forecast 2% to 3%. Read more here.

Organic Products Certification


As of June 30, 2009, the Organic Products Regulations require mandatory certification to the revised National Organic Standard for agricultural products represented as organic in international and inter-provincial trade, or that bear the federal organic agricultural product legend (or federal logo).


List of Certification Bodies accredited by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency

List of Conformity Verification Bodies