Saturday, January 30, 2010

End Near for ‘Buy American’

(National Post – John Ivison)

Obama to use executive power to skirt rule: sources

The surprise loss of Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat to the Republicans prompted fears in Canada that President Barack Obama may attempt to win back middle-class America by expanding “Buy American” restrictions.

But it seems those fears have been misplaced. Sources within the Obama administration say that an agreement to fix Buy American is close to being concluded and could be announced within days. The President is said to be resolved that future economic growth can only be achieved by boosting exports and keeping markets open, rather than by raising tariff walls.

Because Mr. Obama cannot rely on Congress to pass legislation exempting Canada from Buy American provisions, the complicated deal will rely on the President using his executive power to treat sectors of the Canadian economy as American, by claiming supply chains are so integrated they cannot be separated.

When confirmed, the agreement will be a major relief for Canadian companies doing business in the United States, not to mention for U. S-based companies who export north of the border. The U.S. Recovery and Reinvestment Act included sections that all iron, steel and manufactured goods used in projects paid for by stimulus funding must be sourced in the United States. The concern in Canada was that Buy American might be extended to all state and city level government procurement. Read more here.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Obama Sets Goal to Double Exports in 5 Years

(Washington Post – The Associated Press)

President Barack Obama is setting a goal of doubling exports over the next five years, contending that will support 2 million jobs at home. In his State of the Union address, Obama announced an initiative to help farmers and small businesses increase the goods they sell to overseas markets. He promised to reform export rules and seek new markets for U.S. goods but did not offer details.

He said reaping the benefits of trade also means that U.S. partners must “play by the rules.” Obama said he will keep pushing for a global trade pact and to boost relations with trading partners such as South Korea, Panama and Colombia. Read more here.

Related: Obama Sets Ambitious Export Goal (New York Times)

Trade Groups Submit Export Control Reform Recommendations

(World Trade Interactive)

The Export Control Practitioners Group recently submitted to the Obama administration a number of recommendations for reform of the U.S. export control system, an issue the White House is currently reviewing. The ECPG’s recommendations were drafted by export controls professionals from industry, associations and law firms, including Doug Jacobson, the head of Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg’s export controls practice group. They were submitted just ahead of several high-level meetings on export control reform issues that were held in Washington, D.C., this week.

“Many of these recommendations, if enacted, would have a favorable impact on our firm’s clients that produce products subject to the USML and EAR,” Jacobson said. “In particular, reform of the commodity jurisdiction process would be of significant benefit to exporters since it is often difficult for exporters to know with certainty whether their products are subject to the ITAR or EAR. In addition, the EPCG’s recommendations relating to revamping the process and structure for the imposition of penalties for violating export control laws and regulations would be welcome news.” Read more here.

Schumer: Wine Sales Threatened by Canadian Tariff

(Business Week – Michael Gormley, The Associated Press)

A federal proposal threatens the exporting of wine from states including New York, while separate talks could greatly boost sales to Canada, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said Wednesday.

Each separate but related issue could affect wine exports from New York, California, Washington, Oregon, Michigan and other wine-producing states.

The New York Democrat is seeking to block the proposed repeal of a measure that allowed American wineries to be compensated for other countries’ tariffs. Read more here.

Back in the Black? Yes and No

(Export Development Canada – Peter G. Hall)

There’s nothing like a little growth to pick up the spirits. Many indicators are pointing north again, and sentiment is noticeably brighter – in part, out of relief that the worst is behind us, but also reflecting a broadly-based rebirth of hope. Following a tough 2009, Canada will see the return of growth this year.

For Canadian exporters, calling 2009 a tough year is a gross understatement. The collapse of global trade and the resulting plunge in commodity prices lopped a shocking 24% from total exports. Not only was 2009 the worst year on recent record, but the decline was a stunning six times deeper than the weakest year going back to 1961. Worse still, exports began 2009 on the heels of a 5% drop in price-adjusted trade in 2008 – the trade sector was already in recession before last year’s carnage. There is some solace in the fact than on balance, Canada fared no worse than the rest of the world.

EDC’s Winter 2010 Global Export Forecast predicts that the world will begin to rise out of the chasm of recession this year. Following a deep 1.2% pan-global decline last year, GDP is expected to rise by 3.2% in 2010. Developed economies will together post 1.8% growth, while emerging markets rise by a collective 4.8%. Canada is expected to outpace average growth for the industrialized world for the second year in a row, with an economy-wide increase of 2.1%. Growth in international exports will outpace GDP growth marginally at 3%, and if price increases are included, by 5% overall.

Read the complete article and/or view the video here.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Prince Rupert Records 12 year-high Cargo Volumes in 2009

(CIFFA eBulletin)

The Port of Prince Rupert has sailed safely through the receding global economic storm, recording its highest volume throughput since 1997. The port handled 12,173,672 tonnes of cargo in 2009, up 15 per cent over 2008 volumes. The higher volumes in 2009 were not driven by one line of business, but were up for most Prince Rupert facilities including containers and bulk cargo. The Fairview Container Terminal handled 265,259 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) in 2009, a 45.9 per cent increase over 2008, despite the global economic downturn that has resulted in declining container traffic through other North American West Coast ports.

Prince Rupert Port Authority President & CEO Don Krusel says over the first two full years of operations, Fairview Terminal and CN’s North American network has provided shippers unparalleled reliability, speed and cost efficiency year round.

Canadian Pork Producers Call for Equivalent Food Labelling Rules

(Farmscape – Bruce Cochrane)

The chair of Manitoba Pork Council reports a growing number of Canadian pork producers believe Ottawa needs to impose the same labelling rules on U.S. pork entering Canada as is required for Canadian product entering the U.S.

A delegation representing Manitoba Pork Council visited Minneapolis last week and is in Des Moines this week for a series of trade advocacy meetings and to discuss issues of common concern with their U.S. counterparts.

Pork Council chair Karl Kynoch says Canadian pork producers are increasingly concerned with the fact that, while U.S. Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling has made it more difficult to move Canadian product into the U.S., American product continues to flow freely into Canada. Read more here.

Report Says CBP Improving Cargo Targeting and Examination

(World Trade Interactive)

The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General has issued the latest in a series of reports evaluating U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Automated Targeting System. This report examines selected aspects of the ATS, determines their effectiveness in assisting CBP in detecting potential acts of terrorism, and identifies actions needed to improve the targeting of high-risk containers for inspection.

ATS is an enforcement tool that uses sophisticated automated techniques and algorithms to perform risk-based analysis of anomalies and strategic intelligence to indicate which shipments are high-risk and require additional scrutiny and mandatory security inspections. CBP officers at ports of entry also use their local knowledge and judgment to select unusual or irregular shipments for inspection. A shipment selected by ATS or local CBP officers is held for a non-intrusive inspection; i.e., an X-ray image that CBP officers use to identify anomalies such as areas that appear unusual or inconsistent with the container contents listed on the shipping documents. If CBP officers are unable to resolve the anomaly with an NII they may refer a shipment for physical examination, which may consist of a visual inspection of the container’s interior, a limited inspection of selected contents or the complete unloading of the cargo. Read more here.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Free Webinar on Air Cargo Screening – February 10

(American Shipper/NITL)

American Shipper, in partnership with the National Industrial Transportation League (NITL) and the Express Delivery and Logistics Association (XLA), will be hosting a free 90 minute webinar on Wednesday, February 10th on the U.S. Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) 100% Air Cargo Screening Mandate which takes effect on August 1, 2010.

As of that date, all cargo carried aboard passenger aircraft must be screened. While the industry may have some eight months to prepare for the new requirement, in order to avoid serious problems it will be necessary for many shippers to consider enrolling in the TSA's Certified Cargo Screening Program (CCSP).

The webinar will feature Mr. Douglas Brittin of TSA and Mr. Tom Lewandowski of Geodis Americas, a seasoned industry professional with hands-on experience in setting up a CCSP. They will be joined by Richard Macomber, also of Geodis America and Chairman of the League's Air Transportation Committee, and Jim Conway, Executive Director for XLA.

The CCSP program will be critical for many companies and may be the only solution to avoid congestion, bottlenecks and unexpected delays once the mandate comes into effect. Our webinar will guide you step-by-step on what you need to know to prepare for the new screening mandate and how to avoid the pitfalls that may keep your valuable and time sensitive cargo from moving on time.

Please click here to register now.

Helping to Ensure Olympic and Paralympic Goods Arrive on Time


During the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, over 3 billion people will see how well prepared Canada is for the Games. Hosting such a high profile event also provides the Government of Canada with an opportunity to show how much we value our foreign visitors’ business.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is responsible for the processing of all goods arriving in Canada, including all goods and equipment destined for use during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

The CBSA is working closely with the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC), 2010 corporate sponsors and other importers of Olympic Games goods to ensure that the goods will be processed in an expeditious manner when they arrive in Canada.

To facilitate this process the CBSA established the 2010 Import Logistics Field Team. The Team was created to provide guidance and awareness to 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games stakeholders about the CBSA’s visitor and goods admissibility requirements.

The 2010 Import Logistics Field Team serves as a single-window information service for stakeholders, providing them with up-to-date, accurate information regarding commercial import and export procedures for the 2010 Winter Games.

The Team provides stakeholders with support prior to the arrival of the goods, ensuring those importing goods for the Games can experience an expedited facilitation process that will save them time, money and stress. This approach is also expected to ease the impact at the border entry points prior to Games time.

Anyone considering shipping goods for the Games is encouraged to contact the CBSA 2010 Import Logistics Field Team at:

Telephone: 604-666-4504

WTO Chief Sees U.S.-China Trade Friction Rising, but Says Trade War Won’t Happen

(The Canadian Press – Bradley S. Klapper)

Trade friction between the United States and China over everything from cars to chemicals will increase in the coming years as the world's biggest importer and exporter buy and sell more of each other's goods, the World Trade Organization's director general said.

Pascal Lamy said his institution was up to the task of ensuring that Washington and Beijing never get into an all-out trade war that could have devastating consequences for the global economy. The WTO will be challenged over the next two years as unemployment figures remain high and test the free trade credentials of world leaders, he predicted. "There is no risk of slipping into a trade war," Lamy said in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday.Placing the U.S.-China relationship in a historical context, Lamy compared it with the tensions that existed between Washington and Tokyo in the 1980s and between the U.S. and Europe over different periods in recent decades.

In these cases, disagreements increased as the value of their trade expanded, he said. But the international trade body with its negotiations and rules for settling legal disputes defused the tensions. Read more here.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Polyisocyanurate Thermal Insulation Board – Preliminary Determination


The following information is now available on the CBSA Web site here.

Polyisocyanurate Thermal Insulation Board – Preliminary Determination – Statement of Reasons – 2010-01-21

Global Container Freight Rates Are Increasing

(Logistics Today)

For the first time since mid-2008, average global container freight rates experienced a year-on-year increase in late 2009, according to a report from U.K.-based consulting firm Drewry. The Drewry Global Freight Rate Index recovered by 3% in the year to November 2009, after collapsing the first half of 2009, increasing by 18% between July and September 2009 and rising by another 6% between September and November 2009.

Between September and November, the global “all-in” container freight rate index rose from $2,040 per 40-ft container to $2,160, maintaining a trend of price rises that has lasted for more than six months. However, recent average global freight rates in late 2009 were still about 20% below the peak of 2007.

“On routes such as Asia to Europe, the year-on-year increase in spot rates amounts to at least 40% and we know from shippers that they are asked to agree to much higher freight rates under annual contracts renewed in early 2010,” says Philip Damas, director of Drewry Supply Chain Advisors. “January and February are a critical period for many shippers because a high proportion of annual contracts are renewed then.” Some shippers, he points out, are worried that they will be asked to pay higher freight rate levels and are unsure whether the requested rates are at or higher than market benchmark levels. Read more here.

Friday, January 22, 2010

News from GHY International

Our Tradelines Newsletter Issue #5 January/2010 is now posted online here.

An updated list of Recently published government memorandums, notices, regulations and decisions for the week ending January 22, 2010 is also now available on our website here.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

U.S. Trade Gap Widening in Advanced Technology

(Industry Week – Peter Alpern)

While overall trade deficit rose marginally in November, numbers suggest U.S. is importing advanced technologies at alarming rates.

The ongoing – and apparently deepening – trade deficit has begun to undercut what has long been the U.S.’s primary strength: producing advanced technology.

Even though the nation’s trade deficit widened to $36.4 billion in November from $33.2 billion the month before, according to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, what is alarming is the chasm in importing advanced technology, which grew to a new monthly record of $8.30 billion. The new mark eclipses the previous high of $7.73 billion, back in October of 2007, by 7.3%.

“It warns that a long-time strength of the U.S. economy is fast becoming a major weakness,” said Alan Tonelson, a research fellow for the U.S. Business & Industrial Council Educational Foundation, a Washington research organization studying U.S. economic, technology, and national security policy.

U.S. exports of high tech goods dropped by 11.31% in November, from $23.70 billion to $21.01 billion, while imports of those products stood at $29.3 billion. Read more here.

CFIA: Validation of Destination Address for Imports


Please be informed as of February 1, 2010, when using the Electronic Data Interchange, EDI, the information entered under Destination, for the Fresh Fruit & Vegetable, Processed Products, Dairy & Honey Programs will be automatically validated and admission will be based on a complete and correct address. The Canadian destination of a shipment is currently a requirement in regulation for these programs and the address will be assessed against the postal code. Errors or incomplete submissions will result in the transaction being rejected until satisfactory information has been received. If the transaction is still in a rejected status when the product arrives at the border, it will not be permitted entry into Canada.

Should you have any questions on the above requirements, please contact John Wood, A/Chief, Imports, Agrifood Division at or 204-984-6186.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Revised: D19-10-3 Export and Import Permits Act


D19-10-3 Administration of the Export and Import Permits Act (Exportations)

1. This memorandum has been updated to reflect changes to the Canada Border Services Agency’s (CBSA) role in administering the provisions of the Export and Import Permits Act. (EIPA)

2. Terminology has been updated to reflect changes in the CBSA’s organizational structure

3. Sections 24 and Sections 25 of the EIPA were added in the Legislation heading to outline the border services officer’s duties and authorities under the EIPA.

4. In Paragraph 2, reference to the applicable legislation, the Export Control List and the General Export Permits are now available on the Department of Justice Web site.

5. In Paragraph 3, there is new information on methods of permit application; online and paper.

6. In Paragraphs 7,8 and 9 there are updates and new information on goods moving in transit

7. In Paragraphs 10-16 there are updates and new information on export permit procedures, reporting requirements and detention of goods.

8. In Paragraph 17, there is new information on Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) on failure to meet export permits requirements when exporting goods.

9. In Paragraphs 18-20 there is new contact information.

10. In Appendices A-E there are updates and new information on the Export Control List (ECL), Area Control List (ACL), Export Permit form and export permit procedures.

Export USA Webinar: Opportunities to Sell Your Food Products Under Private Label in the U.S. – January 27

(Trade Commissioner)

While private label products may once have not been a first choice for consumers, today’s private label products are much more like national brands – often of higher quality and at only a fraction of the cost. Americans purchase no less than 24 percent of their food products under a private label so Canadian companies interested in exporting to the U.S. market should consider the opportunities offered by the private label concept.

Many manufacturers are unsure if going “private” is the right thing to do. What are the challenges? The benefits? How does a company enter this market segment?

Meet and hear from U.S. private label experts and from a Canadian company active in the U.S. private label sector. Going “private” may just be the right approach for your company. Join us and find out!

Why should you participate? You will:

• Learn if private labelling will give you the edge you need in selling in the U.S.;

• Discover how you could expand your current Private Label market share if you are already using this export avenue;

• Find out more about Canadian service providers that support Canadian industry with Private Label opportunities in the U.S. market.

After the presentations, there will be a 20-minute Q&A period. The presentations will be in English but the speakers will take questions in both French and English. Through the Virtual Trade Commissioner, a) the webinar will be made available for on-demand viewing following the live session; b) participants will also be able to download the presentation slides, in both French and English.

Date: Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Time: 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. EST
Cost: Free

Please register by January 26, 2010 here. For additional information, please email Guillaume Parent:

CPSC Outlines Lead Ban Exemptions for Children’s Electronic Devices

(World Trade Interactive)

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a final rule concerning certain electronic devices for which it is not technologically feasible to meet the limits on lead content in children’s products.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 provides that as of Aug. 14, 2009, products designed or intended primarily for children 12 and younger may not contain more than 300 ppm of lead. This limit will be further reduced to 100 ppm as of Aug. 14, 2011, unless the CPSC determines that it is not technologically feasible to meet this lower limit. The CPSIA further provides that these lead limits do not apply to component parts of a product that are not accessible to a child; i.e., parts that are not physically exposed by reason of a sealed covering or casing and do not become physically exposed through reasonably foreseeable use and abuse of the product, including swallowing, mouthing, breaking or other children’s activities, as well as the aging of the product. Paint, coatings or electroplating may not be considered to be a barrier that would render lead in the substrate to be inaccessible to a child. Read more here.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

eManifest Implementation Timeline Fact Sheet


The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will implement eManifest over a number of years, by client type, using an 18-month implementation timeline outlined here.

Monday, January 18, 2010

U.S. to Vigorously Defend COOL

(Capital Press – Tim Hearden)

Senators urge Obama to prevent WTO from making changes

The Obama administration is reaffirming its vow to vigorously defend a new country-of-origin labeling law after being urged by 25 U.S. senators to do so. The U.S. Trade Representative’s office is working closely with the Department of Agriculture to take America’s case to the World Trade Organization, asserts Debbie Mesloh, the deputy assistant U.S. trade representative in Washington, D.C.

“The United States believes the country-of-origin provisions in the 2008 Farm Bill are fully consistent with all of our WTO trade obligations,” Mesloh told the Capital Press in an e-mail.

Mesloh’s reassurances come after U.S. Sens. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., and Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., led a group of senators calling on Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and trade representative Ron Kirk to defend mandatory country-of-origin labeling against complaints from Canada and Mexico. Johnson and Enzi were joined by 23 colleagues, including Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. The senators urged the government to ensure that no changes are made to the program as a result of the WTO process. Read more here.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Jack Mintz: Look Beyond the U.S.

(Financial Post – Jack M. Mintz)

America’s pre-eminence is in decline. If Canada is to prosper, we must seek new foreign trade partners

At the beginning of this decade, elite opinion held that our priority for trade should be to deepen our relationship with the United States, our most important trading partner. Having ended this decade, it far from clear that this is the best approach for Canada. The U.S. is a waning star. We need to branch out to other countries where growth will be more pronounced as well as to strengthen our bargaining position with an increasingly protectionist partner.

Our past trade strategy focused on the United States, especially after the terrorist attacks that resulted in 3,000 deaths in New York and Washington, D.C. Canadians debated whether we should pursue a “Big Idea,” a term coined by UofT’s Wendy Dobson, such as a common market, a custom union or just some new trade partnership to reduce regulatory, tax and other barriers with the United States. Sure, we looked at some new trade deals with Chile and Israel but most attention was paid to our relationship with the United States, and secondarily to Mexico, our other NAFTA partner.

We are now in a different world. The United States is on the precipice of decline as it struggles with a sick housing market, excessive public and private debt loads, an antiquated tax system, anti-growth regulatory policies, falling productivity with an aging population and increasing isolationism. It is hard to see the U.S. growing at its historical 3% over the coming decade. With high unemployment and distrust of the benefits from globalization, U.S. trade policy is becoming more inward with trade agreement initiatives being replaced by “Buy American” provisions.

The U.S. share of world GDP (about a fifth) will continue to fall this coming decade as emerging and developing countries almost double their size. By 2030, China will be the second largest economy in the world, rivaling the U.S. for economic domination. Other emerging economies, including Brazil, India and Indonesia with growth rates double that of the U.S., could be major markets for Canadians exporters. It would be a mistake for Canada to ignore markets beyond North America. Read more here.

Friday, January 15, 2010

SIMA: Certain Carbon Steel Plate – Final Determination


The following information is now available on the CBSA Web site:

Certain Carbon Steel Plate – Final Determination – Statement of Reasons – 2010-01-15

Trade Facilitation Draft Text Holds Promise for Developing Countries

(Bridges Weekly)

Import duties and non-tariff barriers to trade – import bans, labelling requirements, and the like – are much less of an obstacle to the flow of international trade than they were a generation ago. Today, a different problem has come into focus, especially among developing nations: the numerous regulatory and logistical challenges to bringing goods to market overseas.

Last month, in a short press release from the WTO secretariat, the organisation announced that its Negotiating Group on Trade Facilitation – the committee charged with hammering out regulations to facilitate the movement of goods across national borders – had agreed upon a ‘draft consolidated text’ to guide the group’s negotiations in 2010. The announcement drew little attention in the press, but it marks an important step for the talks, which, if concluded, could bring significant gains to the economies of the developing world.

Broadly speaking, the trade facilitation committee has been tasked with slicing through the red tape that causes the movement of goods to slow at international borders. In WTO terms, the group has been mandated to “review and as appropriate, clarify and improve” relevant sections of three articles of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (1994): Article V (facilitating transit and trade), Article VII (limiting border fees and formalities), and Article X (making trade regulations transparent). Read more here.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

CSPI Urges FDA to End “Food Labelling Chaos”

(Food in Canada)

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) – Washington has asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to stop “egregious…false claims, ingredient obfuscations and other labelling shenanigans” on food products. The CSPI sent the U.S. FDA a report documenting specific examples late last year.

In a release, the CSPI notes that under the Obama Administration, the FDA is sending more warning letters to food manufacturers about misleading labelling. But, says the CSPI, major food manufacturers continue to confuse or defraud consumers about the health effects, ingredients or “natural”-ness of their products. Read more here.

Canada Envoy in U.S. Cautious on Buy American Talks

(Reuters – Doug Palmer)

Canada’s new ambassador to the United States was cautious on Wednesday about chances of reaching a deal on “Buy American” provisions that have cost Canadian companies tens of millions of dollars in contracts. “I don’t want to say. You’ve got to ask the question, but I’ve got to be honest. We’re still working,” Canadian ambassador Gary Doer told Reuters after his first meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. […]

Plans for a December meeting with Kirk were rescheduled after Doer was asked to join Canada’s delegation attending the global climate change talks in Copenhagen. While Doer was away, lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives included a similar Buy American provision in a $155 billion measure aimed at creating new U.S. jobs. The Senate is expected to take up that legislation after it returns from its break later this month. Read more here.

Small Biz to Gov: Red Tape-Trimming Targets for 2010

(GHY International)

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has proposed ten specific areas for governments to work on in 2010 that will lighten the $30 billion annual load for Canada’s businesses.

According to CFIB’s latest report, 81% of small businesses believe that government does not consider the impact on business when it regulates. “Making progress on the list below would go a long way towards demonstrating that government values the critical contribution that small businesses make to Canada. It’s not comprehensive, but it is a good start,” said CFIB’s vice-president of national affairs, Corinne Pohlmann.

The following three recommendations may be of particular interest to clients:

Create a GST/HST Taxpayer Fairness Code
Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) should adopt a GST/HST Taxpayer Fairness Code. Complying with sales tax rules is the top frustration of small business owners. Businesses collect sales tax revenue on behalf of government and deserve good customer service, including clear answers to questions in a timely manner. The Tax Fairness Code should be modeled after BC’s code where business owners have the right to get questions answered in writing and any written government tax advice will be respected even if it is wrong. Taxpayers need to trust that if they have followed guidance provided by CRA officials, they will not be penalized.

Bring fairness and accountability to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
Agri-business owners understand that a certain amount of regulation is important for food safety, but the CFIA could significantly improve the way it interacts with small businesses. A recent small business report card on CFIA found that fairness is lacking and many feel they have no recourse when dealing with CFIA authorities. A Food Producers’ Ombudsman with real powers to oversee how CFIA interacts with small businesses should be appointed.

Simplify the customs process
Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) should reform the Duty Drawback program. Claiming customs duty refunds imposes such onerous paperwork burden on Canadian firms that many smaller firms who import and export are forfeiting money owed to them or choosing to operate in the U.S. rather than in Canada. One farmer has to fill out 400 forms for every container imported. His paperwork then has to be stored for seven years. The government should eliminate unnecessary duties and reduce record retention requirements for remaining duties.

Read the complete list of recommendations here.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

New Initiative to Help Canadian Businesses Expand to Developing Countries

(Minister of International Trade)

The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today [Wednesday] marked the creation of a $20million program to support Canadian businesses that want to invest responsibly in developing countries. Effective today, Investment Cooperation (INC) replaces the Canadian International Development Agency’s Industrial Cooperation (CIDA-INC) program.

“This program will make it easier for innovative Canadian companies to contribute to economic growth and poverty reduction in developing countries,” said Minister Day. “This will create jobs both at home and abroad.”

INC funding will be used to help Canadian companies complete the following phases of the investment cycle:

• The viability phase: feasibility of an investment is investigated.

• The demonstration phase: technology is adapted and demonstrated.

• The sustainability phase: plans are developed to enhance a project’s economic, social and environmental sustainability.

• The implementation phase: activities are undertaken to enhance the sustainability of the project.

Program applicants and clients must demonstrate adherence to strict international corporate social responsibility (CSR) standards in order to receive funding. The program complements CSR measures announced by the Government of Canada in March. These included the creation of a CSR counsellor’s office and support for an external CSR centre of excellence that would provide information to companies, non-governmental organizations and others.

Applications will be processed more quickly than under the previous CIDA-INC program to ensure timely review and approvals. A service standard of 40 working days from submission of a completed application to approval has been introduced. Other changes include the expansion of the program to projects in most countries eligible for international development assistance, including China, Mexico, Malaysia and Thailand.

In 2007, the Government of Canada started implementing the Global Commerce Strategy. The Strategy’s objective is to support Canadian firms as they pursue opportunities in the global marketplace. The INC program will support the Strategy by increasing Canadian direct investment around the world and strengthening global economic partnerships.

Companies that wish to apply for funding or pre-qualify online under the INC program may visit Investment Cooperation Program (INC) here.

Foreign Firms Resent Beijing’s Many Rules

(New York Times – Keith Bradsher and David Barboza)

Google is far from alone among Western companies in its growing unhappiness with Chinese government policies, although it is highly unusual in threatening to pull out of the country entirely in protest. Western companies contend that they face a lengthening list of obstacles to doing business in China, from “buy Chinese” government procurement policies and growing restrictions on foreign investments to widespread counterfeiting.

These barriers generally fall into two broad categories. Some relate to China’s desire to maintain control over internal dissent. Others involve its efforts to become internationally competitive in as many industries as possible.

Google, which complained Tuesday about attacks on its computers from China and called for an end to censorship of search results, is not the first company to run afoul of the Communist Party’s fears of social instability and strong desire to keep tabs on dissidents and limit freedom of expression. China has long restricted the sale of foreign movies, books, songs and other media, and it continues to do so while appealing a World Trade Organization ruling in August that these policies violate China’s legally binding commitments to the international free trade system. More recently, China has sought to strengthen its domestic encryption industry – for which the government has easy access to all the decryption codes – while withholding the government certification that foreign-owned encryption companies in China need to sell their products to many users. Read more here.

Coalition Outlines Export Control Reform Recommendations

(World Trade Interactive)

The Coalition for Security and Competitiveness, a group formed in March 2007 with the goal of modernizing a U.S. export control system that it says has not been significantly revised in more than 20 years, forwarded to President Obama January 11 a list of recommendations for near- and medium-term reforms that could be taken within existing legislative authorizations. These recommendations are in addition to the principles the coalition submitted last fall. Together, the coalition said, these principles and recommendations “would create a 21st century export control regime that protects critical technologies, safeguards our national security, spurs innovation, and promotes economic growth.” Coalition members intend these submissions to be considered as part of the Obama administration’s ongoing review of export control policy.

The coalition proposes structuring export control reform around five themes: drawing clear lines of agency responsibility for dual-use items and munitions, revising and reducing export control lists to reflect current technologies and maximize the competitive edge of U.S. companies, completing the transition to an end user-based system by developing more efficient procedures for trusted end users and exporters, enhancing cooperation with allies, and enhancing cooperation with the business community to improve the sharing of intelligence and enforcement information. Read more here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

AMI Sides with Canada & Mexico on COOL

(Food Safety News – Dan Flynn)

The American Meat Institute (AMI) is coming down on the side of Mexico and Canada when it comes to opposing the USA’s Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) as mandated by the 2008 Farm Bill. AMI has weighed in with a seven-page letter to the U.S. Trade Representative saying the COOL law puts the United States at odds with its international trade obligations.

“Critical to the United States’ ability to enforce successfully World Trade Organization (WTO) and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) obligations is consistency in U.S. behavior and actions,” wrote Mark D. Dopp, senior vice president, regulatory affairs, and general counsel. “In that regard, the United States’ credibility is undermined when U.S. legislation violates America’s commitments pursuant to those international agreements.” Read more here.

Canada Slips Back into Trade Deficit in November


Canada’s trade balance unexpectedly slipped back into deficit in November as strong imports, led by vehicles from the United States, outweighed export gains from rising oil prices.

The trade deficit totaled C$344 million ($334 million) as exports grew 1.1% from the previous month to C$31.58 billion and imports jumped 3.9% to C$31.93 billion, Statistics Canada said on Tuesday. Read more here.

Summary statistics and links to the data files are on the Statistics Canada website at Statistics Canada website. Export and import price indexes can be found here.

Related: Imports Rose as [U.S.] Trade Deficit Widened in November

(New York Times – Reuters)

The trade deficit widened more than expected in November, as stronger consumer and manufacturer demand pushed imports to the highest level in nearly a year, a Commerce Department report showed on Tuesday. The monthly trade gap increased 9.7% to $36.4 billion, from an upwardly revised estimate of $33.2 billion in October. Analysts surveyed before the report had expected the deficit to widen to about $34.8 billion. Read more here.

EU Trade Chief-Designate Rejects Carbon Border Tariffs

(Reuters – Pete Harrison and Darren Ennis)

The European Union should not impose border tariffs on goods from countries that fail to cut back their climate-damaging emissions, the EU’s trade commissioner-designate said on Tuesday.

“I don’t think that’s the right approach myself,” Karel de Gucht told members of the European Parliament, which will vote whether to approve the European Commission line-up on January 26. “It’s an approach that will run into many practical problems.”

Europe has pledged to cut its emissions of carbon dioxide, which are blamed for climate change, to a fifth below 1990 levels over the next decade. But manufacturers worry that the cost of cleaning up factories and power-generators will make their products more expensive and less attractive than cheap imports from rivals in India and China.

Some politicians, particularly in France, have said that imposing carbon tariffs on goods from carbon-intensive manufacturing regions would level out the playing field. Read more here.

TSA Warns of Cargo Backlogs with 100% Screening


U.S. homeland security and industry officials are warning that “most shippers have taken few steps to avoid potential supply chain disruptions resulting from screening backlogs at major airports,” reports the American Shipper. The warning comes ahead of the looming deadline for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s Certified Cargo Screening Programme that requires 100% screening of all cargo originating in the U.S. that is to be transported in the bellyhold of passenger aircraft starting August 1.

The report said that as of December 31, more than 120 shippers have been certified to screen their own cargo. A further 410 freight forwarders and 40 independent cargo screening facilities that meet TSA criteria have been approved to deconsolidate and inspect each carton by physical or technical means, according to agency figures.

“We don’t think enough shippers have a plan for dealing with the August deadline because many believe their freight forwarders will simply take care of all the arrangements,” TSA air cargo manager Douglas Brittin told industry stakeholders at a Washington meeting. “If it’s unscreened, it’s not going to fly. It might fly two hours later, six hours later, a day later. It depends on when the next flight is going there,” he said. Read more here.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Pupatello Touts Potential of Cargo Village

(Windsor Star – Doug Schmidt)

Essex County specialty greenhouse produce picked fresh in the afternoon and placed on store shelves the next morning in Berlin – and “that’s just scratching the surface,” Economic Development and Trade Minister Sandra Pupatello said of the initial promise of developing a “cargo village” at Windsor Airport.

The MPP for Windsor West said the local airport is “ideally situated” to be transformed into a regional air cargo hub, and she announced Friday that Windsor is getting $200,000 to study the proposal in greater detail. Pupatello used a visit to the airport to announce a total of $350,000 in provincial funding for three initiatives designed to bring new jobs and investment to the area.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that we have potential here,” she said in announcing the funding under Ontario’s communities-in-transition program.

Pupatello praised Mayor Eddie Francis for continuing to push the airport initiative. More than $100,000 in additional funding is required to undertake the second phase of a feasibility study begun by Germany’s Lufthansa Consulting, and Francis said he’ll be seeking city council’s support, although he added the funding was already contained in the airport’s most recent capital budget. Read more here.

DOT Looks to Tighten Requirements for Transportation of Lithium Batteries

(World Trade Interactive)

The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is proposing to amend the requirements in the Hazardous Materials Regulations on the transportation of lithium cells and batteries, including those packed with or contained in equipment, as follows. Comments on this proposal are due by March 10. Read more here.

EU-Canada Trade Talks: The Devil Is in the Details

(Troy Media – Robert Gallagher)

In an age where coupling the words “economic” and “crisis” comes as naturally as the union of rhythm and blues or bacon and eggs, ticking off the projected benefits of the Canada–European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) evokes the stuff of dreams.

The aim is for completely open, bilateral competition for public and government contracts, harmonization of regulations to make trade transparent, and free movement of qualified, professional employees. The hoped-for result is that within three years there will be a 20% increase in bilateral trade and a $12-billion boost in Canadian Gross Domestic Product.

Too good to pass up? Or too good to be true? Mooted for some years now, the first round of talks aimed at hammering out the agreement took place in Ottawa last year. Public releases were couched in vague platitudes with not a bracing of hard facts. Read more here.

The EU and Canada Agree on an Air Transport Deal

(New Europe)

The European Union (EU) has completed several aviation agreements, including a comprehensive Air Transport Agreement with Canada, which will allow unlimited access to Canadian cargo operators and commercial airliners, and vice versa. Air carriers will also be able to pick up traffic in each partner’s territory and continue to a third country as part of a service to or from their home territory. All 27 EU member states signed the agreement.

Canada’s Transport Minister, John Baird, said: “Our government has moved at an unprecedented pace since 2006 to negotiate or enhance existing air travel agreements with other countries, and we are proud to now be signing our largest ever with the European Union. For the first time, Canadian air carriers will be able to access and expand into all EU member states, and EU carriers will be able to expand into Canada. The result will be better air travel choices and new opportunities for Canadian businesses by 2010,” reported.

The EU is Canada’s second-largest bilateral aviation, trade and investment market. In 2008, Canadian exports to the EU totaled $52.2 billion, an increase of 3.9% from 2007. “This comprehensive air transport agreement will help boost Canada’s economy by creating new jobs, expanding our commercial links and building connections for our citizens,” said Stockwell Day, Canada’s Minister of International Trade. Read more here.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

CFIA: Importation of Meat and Meat Products into Canada


Please note that as of January 4, 2010, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will modify its procedure to request a change to the import inspection facility for meat and meat products… The full notice is here.

Also on January 4, 2010, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will modify its procedures related to the distribution of the MCAP Import Inspection Report for meat shipments from the USA. The full notice is here.

New toll-free number for requesting MCAP Import Inspection Reports is available here.

CBP: New Trade Training Available for All ACE Portal Users


Web-based Training (WBT) for “ACE Forms, Declarations & AD/CVD Cases” is now available. Listed below are the topics included in the new WBT as well as the recommended audience. The 90 minute WBT provides extensive training on the new enhancements which will be deployed on January 17, 2010.

Lesson 1: Release Introduction – ALL ACE Accounts

Lesson 2: AD/CVD Case Management – Broker and Importer Accounts and other interested parties (Learn to search, display and print AD/CVD Case information.)

Lesson 3: AD/CVD Messages – Broker and Importer Accounts and other interested parties
(Learn to search, display and print AD/CVD Case Messages.)

Lesson 4: Declarations – Broker and Importer Accounts
(Importers – learn about enhancements to existing Declarations functionality. Brokers – learn to create, display, print and cancel declarations for importer’s who do not have an ACE Portal account.)

Lesson 5: AD/CVD Reports – Broker and Importer Accounts
(Learn about new AD/CVD Reports and enhancements to some current ACE reports.)

To take the WBT, visit the “Training and Reference Guides” section here. The URL for the ACE Web Based Training and the required user name and password are:
User name: user01 • Password: 1Password

Friday, January 8, 2010

Latest Winter Storm Disrupting Some Freight

(Journal of Commerce Online – John D. Boyd)

Rail, river, road transportation affected across broad area of U.S.

The latest in a series of strong winter storms is disrupting all forms of surface freight transportation, as rivers and rail switches ice up and some Interstate highways have closed at times from heavy snow and ice buildup.

BNSF Railway told customers on Jan. 7 that its service “is being impacted by extreme cold and winter weather conditions across the Central and Northern Regions, which includes Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Montana, North and South Dakota. The extreme cold is resulting in slow operating conditions. Read more here.

Supply Chain Year in Review 2009

(SCDigest – Dan Gilmore)

2009: a year to remember, and to forget.

As we look back on the year in supply chain, 2009 was period in which the SCM narrative was joined at the hip with the economic one like no other since the start of “the supply chain” era in the mid-1980s.

The reality is that the recession had already started in 2008, especially in the housing and transport sectors, and then was sent into overdrive by the Wall Street collapse in September of that year.

But 2009 was when we really felt the business pain. Below, I will review some of the supply chain impacts from the Great Recession of 2009.

It was “cut, cut, cut” at many companies. Obviously, a number of SCM professionals lost their jobs just as in every other area of business. Projects were put on hold. A panelist at a “Wall Street meets Supply Chain” session at CSCMP in October told attendees that one large retailer had the opportunity and the cash to pursue a network redesign effort they knew would save the company tens of millions of dollars annually, but the project was delayed this year because the company didn’t want to send the signal that it was spending money when everyone else was hunkering down.

Many companies took the drop in demand to consolidate distribution facilities. We spoke with one publishing company which moved fast when leases were expiring to combine two distribution operations into a third DC – and in the haste, needing to run three totally separate operations and systems in the one building. Read more here.

Canada’s Railways Could Be Back on Track

(Materials Management & Distribution)

After hitting bottom in 2009, all signs point to a freight rail traffic upswing in 2010: RAC

Freight rail traffic may have hit rock bottom in 2009, but the Railway Association of Canada (RAC) says that 2010 looks promising. In a release sent out late last month, the RAC reports that freight carriers saw traffic drop by 25% during the first half of 2009. The RAC attributes the drop to the recession, which cut into the overseas demand for coal, sulphur and other export commodities, as well as the movement of containerized goods in and out of Canada.

But the RAC also notes signs of improvement. For one thing, toward the end of 2009 the number of locomotives and freight cars brought out of storage rose to handle an uptick in business. Also, strong demand for Canadian grain and specialty crops kept carriers busy during 2009. And there is plenty of promising new business for the railways, including ethanol and wood pellets used in electricity-generating plants. Read more here.

Shippers May Face Higher Rates in 2010 as Space Gets Tight

(Logistics Management)

The active capacity of the world’s leading ocean cargo carriers dropped by 2.4% over the last 12 months.

According to a new report issued ASX-Alphaliner, capacity management has become the key to restoring the industry to profitability in 2010. “Although the total operated fleet of the top 20 carriers increased by 1.6% since 2009, the effective capacity dropped due to an increase in the idle fleet,” said analysts.

Analysts added that the combined capacity of the “Top 20” carriers reached 10.81 million twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEU) on 1 January 2010 compared to 10.63 million TEU in 2009. The idled capacity of these carriers currently stands at 743,000 TEU, representing 6.9% of the carriers’ operated fleet. The idle capacity for these carriers was 328,000 TEU or 3.1% of their fleet on 1 January 2009. Read more here.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Canadian Chamber of Commerce – National Transportation Strategy Report #4

(CIFFA eBulletin)

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has issued the fourth report from the Canadian Chamber’s transportation series, A Multimodal Transportation Infrastructure Investment Strategy. It builds on previous reports that calls for the Canadian government to put in place a National Transportation Strategy based on four guiding pillars. An Economically, Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Plan is pillar #4. The full report is available here.

Canada China Business Council Business Hub Opens in Shanghai for Canadian Companies

(Canada Asia News)

The Canada China Business Council (CCBC) has opened its Canada Centre in Hongqiao district in downtown Shanghai. The Centre is designed to be a catalyst for business growth for Canadian companies, to foster and nurture long-term relations between the Canadian and Chinese governments and private sectors. The Centre is located in the Shanghai Mart, an international trade and exhibition centre featuring permanent showrooms, trade offices, and information resources that provide both international and domestic business first class facilities and services.

As well as serving as CCBC’s office in Shanghai, the Canada Centre is a showroom for Canadian products and services. It provides physical display space for Canadian companies, sectoral groups or government agencies, enabling them to demonstrate and present products and services. The Centre’s meeting space provides a place for companies to meet and network with Chinese clients or counterparts.

DHS to Enforce Security Rules for Chemical Storage and Distribution

(DC Velocity – Toby Gooley)

When it comes to cargo security, air and ocean transportation probably are where you’ve focused your efforts. But if you have any involvement with the storage, transportation, and distribution of chemicals, warns the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), then you need to add those activities to your list of security concerns – right now.

CFATS, the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (6 CFR Part 27) establishes risk-based performance standards for chemical facility security. The final rule was published in late 2007, and DHS plans to ramp up enforcement in 2010. Read more here.

Surface Transportation Trade with U.S. Fell 19% in October to US$36.3B

(The Canadian Press)

Cross-border trade continued to improve last October even though goods carried mostly by trucks, rail and pipelines was down 19% to US$36.3 billion from the same month in 2008, the U.S. Department of Transportation said Wednesday. Surface transportation trade with the United States was 4.3% higher than in September 2009. Monthly changes can be affected by seasonal variations, the agency said in its report.

More than US$19 billion of goods were exported from Canada in October, compared to US$18.1 billion in September and US$25 billion in October 2008. Imports from the United States totalled US$17.2 billion, up from US$16.6 billion in September but down from US$19.7 billion in October 2008.

Trucks accounted for about 65% of all cross-border trade. Railways carried 16% and pipelines 12%. The remaining shipments were made by mail and other transportation. Railway exports from Canada enjoyed the largest monthly increase, growing by 9.7%, while imports fell 5.4%. Read more here.

The Canadian General Freight Index Falls Slightly in October

(PR Insider)

Results published today [Tuesday] by the Canadian General Freight Index (CGFI) indicate that the cost of ground transportation for Canadian Shippers declined slightly in October after rising in September. Since the beginning of the year, the index has fallen in eight of the ten months, and has declined 9.6% in aggregate.

Although overall results declined, Base Rates, which exclude the impact of Fuel Surcharges assessed by carriers, rose .3% in October; only the second monthly increase since the beginning of the year. Offsetting the increase in base rates was a drop in average Fuel Surcharges, resulting in slightly lower overall costs.

“A slight increase in the domestic market seems to have been countered by weaker rates in the Trans-Border market,” says Alan Saipe, president, Supply Chain Surveys Inc., and long time analyst and observer of the transportation and logistics industry.

The CGFI is sponsored by Nulogx, a leading Transportation Management Solutions provider, and is used by shippers and carriers to benchmark performance, develop business plans, and secure competitive agreements. It was developed with the assistance of Dr. Alan Saipe. Read more here or view the results at the most recent results are available at the CGFI website.

Supply Chains Prioritize Visibility

(ThomasNet – Ilya Leybovich)

The increasing complexity of the global supply chain presents numerous cost and performance challenges. New reports highlight the importance of improving visibility along distribution lines to help meet the rapidly shifting landscape of supply chain management.

As global supply chains become more complicated, they create longer lead times for moving supplies and increase the amount of inventory in the pipeline. As a result, supply chain management costs tend to rise, making it a priority for suppliers to reduce expenses by trimming excess inventory and providing rapid resolutions to disruptions in the supply network. New research indicates that supply chain visibility is a crucial but often-overlooked factor in making these types of operational improvements.

According to a December report from the Aberdeen Group titled Supply Chain Visibility Excellence, 57% of global supply chain companies considered visibility a high priority for improvement, and 28% considered it a medium priority. “Best-in-Class” suppliers were 31% more likely than other firms to gain visibility into international outbound shipments and 47% more likely for international inbound shipments.

Visibility – the ability to obtain relevant data on purchased materials within a transportation network and on outbound goods as they are manufactured, stored or shipped – is quickly becoming a critical aspect of controlling supply chain flow, especially as global sourcing grows more complex. But many companies on both the supplier and receiver side are struggling to implement visibility improvements. Read more here.

Stage Set for a Happier New Year

(Export Development Canada – Peter G. Hall)

It was hard to be positive about short-term economic prospects at this time last year. Our New Year’s message could hardly have been more doleful, and as it happened, the message was warranted. Global activity levels are now much lower than they were in late 2008, and a true world recovery remains elusive. Are we in for more of the same this year, or can we look forward to better times?

On a number of fronts, things are looking up. First, economic activity fell so dramatically that, broadly speaking, sales and production are well below longer-term sustainable levels. This is creating lots of room for the excesses of the boom years to be worked off – a process that is likely to take us until about mid-year. But once the market is back in balance, demand will boost production and sales back toward sustainable levels, and based on current activity, that implies a lot of growth. It won’t all happen at once, but momentum is expected to intensify toward the end of 2010. Best to prepare now.

Second, the unemployment rate has hit a plateau. Concern mounted in mid-2009 as unemployment soared rapidly, and many expected this to continue into the first few months of this year. Not so; it appears that business response to the recession was more immediate than usual, and as such, employment is not lagging the cycle to the same degree. Time will tell, but it is possible that hiring will resume more quickly than usual when the economy starts to grow again. And there are few things that restore confidence and spending activity like renewed growth in employment.

A third factor is consumer deleveraging. It’s underway now, and it dragging a lot of cash away from the till. Increased prudence is likely to remain a more or less permanent legacy of this recession, but the drag on the overall economy is expected to ease considerably by mid-year. At that time, Western consumers are expected to have ramped up to a new rate of saving from current income that they are content with – at which point, spending growth will rise automatically to roughly match income growth. Read more here.

US Steel Adds to its Complaint Against Chinese Steel Imports

(Malia Spencer — Pittsburgh Business Times)

In another federal petition, U.S. Steel Corp. (NYSE:X) said Thursday that it wants duties placed retroactively on seamless standard, line and pressure pipe that is imported from China if a federal trade commission finds that the Asian nation is dumping the product into the American market.

The Downtown Pittsburgh-based steelmaker — along with TMK IPSCO, a Downers Grove, Ill., manufacturer; V&M Star LP, a Houston manufacturer; and two labor groups — filed a complaint in September with the U.S. International Trade Commission over Chinese-made steel pipes imported during 2008. The pipe, which is not welded, and up to 16 inches in outside diameter, is used to move liquids and gases and can be found in plumbing and heating systems or industrial piping systems. […]

During this investigation US Steel has opted to ask that if any duties are implemented, they be retroactive 90 days from the date of the determination, the company said. Normally, duties would be assessed from date of the determination forward.

The Department of Commerce is expected to make a preliminary determination around Feb. 16. Read more here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New ACE Release Offers Expanded Functionality for AD/CV Entries


Custom and Border Protection’s (CBP’s) plans to conduct a National Customs Automation Program (NCAP) test concerning new Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) Entry Summary, Accounts and Revenue (ESAR III) capabilities. These new capabilities include functionalities specific to the filing and processing of anti-dumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) entries and case management.

A notice in the Federal Register announces the test’s commencement, describes the eligibility, procedural and documentation requirements for voluntary participation in the test, outlines CBP’s development and evaluation methodology, and invites public comment concerning any aspect of the test.

SIMA: Polyisocyanurate Thermal Insulation Board – Notice of Preliminary Determination


The following information is now available on the CBSA Web site:
Polyisocyanurate Thermal Insulation Board – Notice of Preliminary Determination

Canada Joins WTO Panel on Chinese Export Restrictions


The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today announced that Canada will participate as a third party in a World Trade Organization panel on China’s export restrictions on certain raw materials. The panel was established at the request of the United States, the European Union and Mexico on December 21, 2009.

“Canada is concerned that China’s export restraints, such as export duties and quotas, are leading to trade distortions in the world market,” said Minister Day. “Such measures have caused uncertainty for Canadian producers. We hope that this WTO challenge will persuade China to end these practices.”

The raw materials at issue are bauxite, coke, fluorspar, magnesium, manganese, silicon carbide, silicon metal, yellow phosphorus and zinc.
Canada believes that the Chinese measures are inconsistent with China’s WTO commitments. The measures appear to violate rules on export restraints, as well as the commitment China made when it joined the WTO to not charge export tariffs on most materials.

Supply Management Hurting Major Transpacific Trade Opportunity: Experts

(Embassy – Laura Payton)

Eight Asia-Pacific countries will meet in March to negotiate a trade agreement as Canada sits on the sideline

Even as Prime Minister Stephen Harper works to turn Canada’s diplomatic and economic focus more towards Asia, the government may have missed out on a key chance to shape a new and expanding transpacific trade agreement. And experts say a major reason may have been Canada’s ongoing insistence on protecting supply management.

The Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement, or TPP, began as a four-country Pacific free trade agreement that came into force in 2006. Initially it encompassed only New Zealand, Chile, Brunei and Singapore. However, those countries want to expand to more markets. Canada could have joined years ago, but has so far remained on the sidelines while its major competitors jump on board. Read more here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New on the CRA Website

(Canada Revenue Agency)

Government of Canada announces new electronic filing requirements for GST/HST registrants and penalties and fines for non-filers.

CFIA: New AIRS Verification Service (AVS)


Canadian importers and brokers have requested that the process of updating/maintaining coding from the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) be sped up and simplified, in order to allow for expedited release of shipments. In response to this request, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has developed the AIRS Verification Service (AVS). AVS is a web service designed to verify and validate coding of multiple AIRS commodities in a single request.

Please find attached, the information on this new service as well as the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document.

Monday, January 4, 2010

European Business Groups Warn EU over Protectionism

(The Telegraph – Angela Monaghan)

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has joined forces with some of its European counterparts to warn against protectionist measures in the wake of the global recession. In a letter to the European Union Council, the eight signatories opposed a proposal to make it compulsory to place labels on goods imported to the EU marking their origin. The representatives from the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland and Sweden, as well as Britain, argued that the proposal was discriminatory.

“The proposed regulation discriminates against products manufactured outside the EU. It is difficult for EU leaders to criticise the Buy American initiative if they are going to support this proposal,” they said. “Adding a new requirement on top of existing ones would only result in raising the financial and administrative burden for importers.”

The proposal is being discussed by the European Commission and the business groups have intervened in the hope that they can influence the decision. Read more here

ASEAN-China Open World’s Largest Free Trade Area

(Agence France-Presse)

Covering a market of 1.7 billion consumers, China and Southeast Asia established the world’s biggest free trade area (FTA) on December 30, liberalizing billions of dollars in goods and investments. Eight years in the making, the ASEAN-China FTA will rival the EU and the North American Free Trade Area in terms of value and surpass those markets in terms of population. Officials hope it will expand Asia’s trade reach while boosting intra-regional trade that has already been expanding at 20% a year.

“In 2010 we are sending a strong signal that ASEAN is open,” explained H.E Sundram Pushpanathan, of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). China has just overtaken the U.S. to become ASEAN’s third largest trading partner, and will leap Japan and the EU to become “number one” within the first few years of the FTA, said Pushpanathan, Deputy Secretary-General for the ASEAN Economic Community.

Under the agreement, China and the six founding ASEAN countries – Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand – are to eliminate barriers to investment and tariffs on 90% of products. Later ASEAN members, including Vietnam and Cambodia, have until 2015 to follow suit. Read more here.

SIMA – Notice of Final Determination Re Certain Carbon Steel Plate and High Strength Low Alloy Steel Plate Originating in or Exported from Ukraine


On January 4, 2010, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) made a final determination of dumping pursuant to paragraph 41(1)(a) of the Special Import Measures Act with respect to hot-rolled carbon steel plate and high strength low alloy steel plate not further manufactured than hot-rolled, heat-treated or not, in cut lengths in widths from 24 inches (610 mm) to 152 inches (3,860 mm) inclusive and in thicknesses from 0.187 inches (4.75 mm) up to and including 3.0 inches (76.0 mm) inclusive (with all dimensions being plus or minus allowable tolerances contained in the applicable standards e.g. ASTM standards A6/A6M and A20/A20M), originating in or exported from Ukraine; excluding universal mill plate, plate for use in the manufacture of pipe and plate having a rolled, raised figure at regular intervals on the surface (also known as floor plate).

Read the complete decision here.

Tax Enforcers Intensify Focus on Multinationals [Transfer Pricing]

(New York Times – Matthew Saltmarsh)

While the recession may be ending across much of the world, its effect on revenue collectors and corporate tax returns will last much longer. Tax inspectors had already been increasing their focus on multinational businesses, specifically taking aim at an arcane area of international accounting called transfer pricing. Such scrutiny is intensifying, according to tax experts, as governments seek ways to close their growing budget deficits.

The potential for friction was emerging before the financial crisis, and “the current recession has increased that potential dramatically,” according to a recent paper by the auditing firm Grant Thornton.

Companies like Microsoft and Google have long pushed their effective tax rates down by moving functions to lower-rate jurisdictions like Ireland, which has a low tax rate on royalty income – as low as zero – and a 12.5% corporate tax rate, against the 35% rate in the United States.

Transfer pricing involves calculating how much profit is made by a company in each country in which it operates, when contributions to the final product – be it parts, patent rights, services or funds – may come from one or more affiliates abroad.

A report from the charity Christian Aid, which is concerned with the effect on developing countries, estimated that governments lose $160 billion a year when companies working across borders misapply the rules. Read more here.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Fear of Flying: How Customs Stole Our Infinite Variety

(Video: CNN • Story: Chidanand Rajghatta – Times of India)

When Officer Figueros of the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agency began his 10 pm shift last Monday at Washington’s Dulles International

Airport, he walked to the top of the immigration and customs line and asked the female visitor, “Are you travelling alone, ma’am?” She nodded yes, and Figueros, with exaggerated courtesy, held out his elbow and walked her to his kiosk to process her entry into the US.

Weary and cranky after delayed - and exhausting - flights from across the world, travellers in the queue cheered Figueros embroidered welcome, relieved by the comic relief he provided late in the night. Many of them were missing connecting flights in the US, and CBP and airline officials were doing their best to ease the travellers’ onward passage. But beneath the merry frontal welcome in keeping with the holiday spirit, the mood among airport and airline security officials and in the immigration and customs outpost was fraught with anxiety and tension. Read more here.

Related: 10 New Air Travel Regulations You Need to Know (

Update: Fear of flying? What happens on the ground is scarier (Vancouver Sun)

Technical Updates: December 31, 2009

(GHY International)

New summary of recently published government memorandums, notices, regulations and decisions for the week ending December 31, 2009 now posted on our website.

Click here.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

(Video: ITN)

Best wishes to all our readers for a prosperous and compliant 2010.