Thursday, April 29, 2010
Canada’s recession was short – and in some regions brutish – but the aftermath will be almost as challenging, three new separate reports on the economy suggest. The reports from the country’s budget watchdog, Statistics Canada and one of the leading economic think tanks, the Conference Board, are remarkably similar in detailing what Canada lost during the recession and the problems it faces in recovery.
Putting it in economic terms, Statistics Canada concludes the country’s gross domestic product shrank 2.9% last year, slightly more than its original estimate. But not all regions experienced the recession in the same way. Newfoundland’s economy fell back a massive 10.2%, while two tiny economies, Prince Edward Island and the Yukon, did not contract at all. Among the bigger provinces, Ontario’s economy shrank 3.1% and Quebec’s by a relatively modest one per cent. […]
By 2014, a different set of challenges will be facing Canadians and their governments, says the Conference Board’s Pedro Antunes. In a far-reaching outlook, Antunes says 2014 is when the real impact of the retiring baby boom generation will start being felt in Canada’s labour market, economy and government budgets. Read more here.
The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, and the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture, met with Viktor Alekseyevich Zubkov, First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, today [Wednesday] in Ottawa to discuss deepening the commercial relationship between Canada and Russia.
“Our countries have seen increasing trade, investment and cooperation in science and technology and in agriculture,” said Minister Van Loan. “As a leading economy, Canada offers first-rate business conditions: the lowest taxes on new business investment in the G7, the fastest economic growth in the G7 for 2010, 2011 and 2012, the world’s soundest banking system and a high quality of life.”
“Russia’s growth in agricultural trade is creating tremendous opportunities for our farmers,” said Minister Ritz. “Just as my last mission to Moscow in October led to a number of important wins both for Canadian producers and their Russian partners, meetings like today’s continue to help us strengthen our cooperation.”
Russia is an emerging market and remains a destination for Canadian companies specializing in technology, agriculture and infrastructure. The value of the stock of Canadian foreign direct investment in Russia was approximately $725 million at the end of 2009.
In 1993, Canada and Russia created the Canada-Russia Intergovernmental Economic Commission (IEC) to promote economic relations between the two countries. The commission holds regular meetings to address issues affecting bilateral trade, highlight success stories and encourage business development. Minister Van Loan and First Deputy Prime Minister Zubkov co-chair the commission.
The last full session of the Canada-Russia IEC took place in Moscow in June 2009. The next session is scheduled to take place in Canada in 2011.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday released to Congress a comprehensive report on agricultural transportation in the United States, the first ever of this magnitude.
The report, Study of Rural Transportation Issues, was mandated by the 2008 Farm Bill and covers the four major modes of transportation commonly used by agriculture in the United States-truck, rail, barge, and ocean vessel.
The report examines some of the major issues facing agricultural transportation, including: the dramatic effect of deregulation on the rail industry, a growing gap for funding the inland waterways and highway systems, availability of containers and ocean vessel capacity, and the infrastructure that may be needed to support a projected increase in bio-fuel transportation.
The report also discusses the current approach to transportation policy in the United States, in which each mode of transportation is often considered separately without an overarching view of the flow of freight through all the modes. Study of Rural Transportation Issues may be found on the Agricultural Marketing Service website here.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA’s) Food Safety Enhancement Program government/industry steering committee met last week to discuss the progress of various CFIA food safety initiatives.
In response to a 2008 Listeria outbreak among Maple Leaf Foods customers, the Canadian Government has committed nearly $500 million to improving the delivery of food safety programs by federal departments. The Weatherill Report, an independent investigation into the outbreak released in July 2009, provided the Canadian government with 57 recommendations to further enhance food safety oversight in Canada.
In September 2009, the Government committed to act on all 57 recommendations of the Weatherill Report, and at last week’s meeting pledged to spend approximately $223.4 million in three key areas: reducing food safety risks through prevention, enhancing surveillance and oversight, and improving emergency response. Read more here.
It may well be the biggest and most important trade negotiation that most Canadians have never heard of.
While most of the news out of Europe of late has had to do with the Greek debt crisis and an ash-spewing volcano in Iceland, about 60 Canadian officials have been huddled in contentious trade talks with their European counterparts – at least video images of their counterparts – in what used to be Ottawa’s city hall by the Rideau.
There have been no demonstrators in front of the building denouncing a sell-off of Canadian sovereignty, and hardly a mention in the media or the House of Commons. But if you listen to the critics, what is at stake is in some ways more troubling than the Canada-U.S. free trade talks of the late 1980s – over which an election was fought – or the NAFTA deal that followed.
“What we want is the most ambitious trade agreement we’ve ever had,” federal Trade Minister Peter van Loan said in an interview with The Canadian Press. “We’re looking for something that is deeper and broader than even NAFTA, and this is with the world’s largest economy.”
The two sides are now in the third round of talks, with two more planned. If all goes well, Van Loan hopes to see ink on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement or CETA by late next year. Read more here.
Statistics were misunderstood and volume increases not down to restocking
Current growth in cargo volumes is sustainable, and is down to a genuine increase in real growth and not inventory re-stocking, according to speakers at the Shippers’ Voice seminars at this week’s Multimodal exhibition.
President and CEO of Cargolux Ulrich Ogiermann and analysts Mike Garratt, director of MDS Transmodal, and Ben Hackett, director of Hackett Associates, all agreed that consumer demand had fuelled growth in trade and cargo volumes over the first four months of the year.
“Restocking has already taken place,” said Ogiermann. “From our point of view, it took place last year and drove up demand at the end of 2009, and maybe also in the first month of 2010. Now we are seeing a genuine increase of air cargo demand, because consumers are requesting high-value goods, such as mobile phones, ipads and so on. There is genuine demand coming back.” Read more here.
1. This memorandum supersedes Memorandum D22-1-1, Administrative Monetary Penalty System, dated June 16, 2003.
2. Paragraph 5 reflects the key changes as a result of the review of the AMPS Program that take effect April 14, 2010.
3. Other key changes in this memorandum are: a. updates to the references and links to Justice Canada’s Web site; b)updates to the links to the Master Penalty Document (MPD), the Short Version and Index; c) incorporating the definitions into the memorandum; d) update the sample Form E650, Notice of Penalty Assessment in Appendix A; and e) updates to contact information and terminology throughout to reflect changes in the CBSA’s organizational structure, including Appendix B.
This memorandum supersedes Memorandum D11-11-3, Advance Rulings for Tariff Classification, dated November 26, 2009. This memorandum has been revised to update contact information and to reflect the new organizational structure of the Canada Border Services Agency.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
The Canadian government raised its 2010 economic growth outlook on Monday, based on forecasts from private sector economists, bringing its view closer in line to that of the Bank of Canada. The average of 15 forecasts is for real growth in gross domestic product of 3.1 percent in 2010, up from 2.6 percent in the survey taken in December and used as the basis of the federal budget released in March. Growth for 2011 is seen at 3.1 percent, down from 3.2 percent in the December survey.
“Overall, the March survey results suggest that the near-term outlook has improved since the December survey was conducted,” the Department of Finance said. The government has used the average of private sector forecasts as the base for its fiscal planning since 1994, a method that aims to ensure independence in its estimates. Read more here.
Related: Exports Seen Growing 11 Percent in 2010 (Reuters)
“Let’s be clear: IP (intellectual property) theft in overseas markets is a job killer, and it’s an export killer,” U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a speech to mark World Intellectual Property Day. As the United States encourages companies to pour more money into the development of environmentally friendly green technologies, “we must remain vigilant that the investments that American inventors make are not undermined by lax enforcement of intellectual property rights,” Kirk said. Trade in counterfeit goods costs tens of billions of dollars to the United States alone.
A study done for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimated that industries including chemicals, petroleum, computer equipment, communications, semiconductors, autos, medical equipment and aerospace technologies which rely heavily on patents and other forms of intellectual property pay their workers about 60 percent more than non-IP-based industries. IP industries also account for about 60 percent of total U.S. exports, rising to $910 billion in 2007 from $665 billion in 2000, and about 65 percent of U.S. employment in sectors involved in trade, the NDP Consulting study found. Read more here.
Brazil’s government may take additional steps to limit gains in the local currency (Real) should advanced economies favor policies that keep their currencies weak, Finance Minister Guido Mantega said. “We will take further measures if we don’t reach an agreement” Guido Mantega said in New York. Last year, Brazil implemented a tax on foreign purchases of stock and fixed-income investment in a bid to stem the currency’s advance.
Mantega said he was “worried” after last weekend’s International Monetary Fund (IMF) meetings in Washington, where officials from the US and other developed nations said they intend to keep their benchmark interest rates low. Reduced lending rates can weaken currencies by prompting investors to shift their money to countries where rates are higher.
“I told my colleagues we won’t just watch the deterioration of our situation,” Guido Mantega said. A stronger Real would put Brazilian exporters at a disadvantage by making their goods more expensive in dollar terms. After gaining over 30% last year, the best performance against the US dollar among the 16 most traded currencies tracked by Bloomberg, the Real has lost 0.1 percent in 2010. Read more here.
The U.S. is talking with Canada, the European Union and Australia about eliminating tariffs on solar, wind and related energy technologies to spur their use, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said today. Kirk said the U.S. is seeking an “early harvest” for an agreement on so-called green technologies, which means an environmental deal wouldn’t have to wait for completion of the Doha Round of World Trade Organization talks. Negotiations on environmental goods have taken place since 2008.
“We think it only makes sense to make the trade of those goods more open,” Kirk said at a Washington event on patent protections. “We think it is important enough” that it could move ahead on its own, he said. Read more here.
Investors are treating Portugal as the next Greece as the sovereign debt crisis spreads through the Mediterranean. Portuguese bonds slumped again Tuesday as bond holders took the view that the country’s credit quality is deteriorating, even though its deficit and debt ratios are not as dire as Greece’s. “Investors are looking for the next weak link in the euro zone,” Simon Ballard, credit analyst in London with RBC Dominion Securities, said in a phone interview. “That may be Portugal, though it’s a bad day for everyone in Club Med.”
Credit default swaps on Portuguese debt soared to as high as 380 basis points, up about 40 points from Monday, in early afternoon trading in Europe. That means it costs $380,000 (U.S.) to insure every $10-million of Portugal’s debt against default. Credit default swaps in other Mediterranean countries also rose. Italy, which has one of the world’s highest debt-to-GDP ratios, saw its credit default swaps widen by about 10 basis points, to 160 points.
“The contagion is definitely spreading and spreading quite rapidly to Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Italy,” Mehernosh Engineer, a credit strategist at BNP Paribas, said in a report published Tuesday. “The market has been in a show-me-the-money mode for well over three months and the lack of guidance is slowly and steadily sowing the seeds of a double-dip.” Most European stock indexes were down by 1 per cent or more on fears the debt crisis is spreading. The euro lost 0.68 per cent against the U.S. dollar. Read more here.
European Union Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said he expects China to make gradual adjustments to its exchange rate over time, but doesn’t think that trade actions or other outside pressure will speed up the process. Mr. De Gucht met with Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming in Beijing Tuesday, and said he had argued that a change in China’s currency regime would be beneficial to both Europe and China. But Mr. De Gucht, who was meeting his Chinese counterpart for the first time since being named Europe’s trade envoy in February, didn’t hold out hopes for a quick resolution of an increasingly sensitive issue.
“I think we will have to wait some time. What I would expect is that you would see a gradual adjustment of the yuan,” he said. “I really think they are only going to do it provided it is beneficial to their own economy. I think they will have to come to the conclusion that it is – if not, all the problems we witnessed before the crisis will come back.”Read more here.
Monday, April 26, 2010
The Purchasing Management Association of Canada’s (PMAC) professional accreditation program has received recognition from the international purchasing body as meeting the highest global standard in supply chain education.
The International Federation of Purchasing and Supply Management (IFPSM), a union of 43 national supply chain associations, has awarded PMAC’s Strategic Supply Chain Management Leadership Program (SSCMLP) its Certificate of Competence. This affirms that the PMAC program, which leads to accreditation as a Certified Professional Purchaser (C.P.P.), reflects current practices, learning methodologies and assessments. Officials say it is the only program in Canada to achieve this distinction.
Read the complete PMAC press release here.
While congressional action continues to be scarce on higher-profile trade issues such as China’s currency, free trade agreements and trade preferences, lawmakers are moving forward in other areas like food and product safety that could have important effects on the trade community. Read more here.
Trade deals involve giving up one interest for another more valuable.
Since 2007, the European Union and India have been working on an agreement that would cut most import tariffs. EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht says it should be completed by the end of the year.
One of the EU’s biggest interests in all trade talks is pharmaceuticals. EU exports to non-European countries rose to $110.8 billion in 2009, making it the EU’s fourth-best export, after nuclear parts and machinery, electrical equipment and electronics, and vehicles. However, exports of EU pharmaceuticals to India, the world’s second-most populous country, were worth only $481.3 million last year. That’s partly because India is home to a multibillion-dollar pharmaceutical industry of its own, and because it’s much harder to renew drug patents in India. Read more here.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin and U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Inez Tenenbaum today [April 26] signed a memorandum of understanding for CBP’s Import Safety Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center. The MOU will allow CPSC personnel to access CBP commercial automated systems for import safety risk assessments.
“This is an important first step in strengthening our ability to promote consumer well-being and safety,” said Commissioner Bersin. “With this memorandum of understanding, CBP and the Consumer Products Safety Commission will be able to further protect consumers against the importation of dangerous goods into the U.S.”
The MOU gives CPSC the capability to conduct import safety risk assessments and perform targeting work using CBP’s Automated Commercial System.
“This cooperation between federal partners is making U.S. consumers more safe. By identifying and checking consumer products at our ports, we can reduce the flow of dangerous products into our homes,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum.
The Import Safety CTAC reflects the three core principles announced by President Obama’s Food Safety Working Group in July 2009: prevention, surveillance and response. Created in March 2009, the Working Group was tasked with advising President Obama on how to upgrade the U.S. food safety system for the 21st Century.
CBP established the CTAC Oct. 1, 2009, as a fusion center for agencies to share targeting resources, analysis, and expertise to achieve the common mission of protecting U.S. citizens from unsafe imports. In addition to CBP, the government agencies represented at CTAC include the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service.
Related: Lawmakers Consider Bill to Address Problems with Product Safety Law (World Trade Interactive)
The government’s decision to observe two-day weekly holidays created confusion on Saturday as customs officials responsible for clearing import and export consignments at the Karachi Port remained absent from their duties.
Loading and unloading of goods from the vessels continued as usual, but freight forwarders could not take imported cargo out of the port, due to absence of customs officials.
“Like airports, the seaports operate round-the-week," a Karachi Port Trust (KPT) official said. “But the customs officials seem to have taken the announcement too seriously. They think it is a complete holiday.” Read more here.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
A new report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business states small business owners make up a significant chunk of Canada’s exports. The report entitled: Trade Without Borders: A small business report card on the Canada/US border, involved a membership survey that produced 6,000 answers.
Corinne Pohlmann, CFIB’s vice-president of national affairs, said companies with less than 50 employees represent 73% of all businesses that export and account for nearly one third of the total value of Canadian exports.
Pohlmann added “despite the large contribution of small exporters, the SME sector is usually an afterthought when discussing trade and border issues. Given the important role that SMEs play in the economy, lawmakers on both sides of the border should take careful note of these findings.”
CFIB presented their findings at the Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters in Toronto, April 20. Canada Border Services Agency was also to present on Business Simplification and Service Improvements at the Canadian border.
The complete report is on the CFIB website here.
The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, today [April 22] announced that Canada has joined 36 other negotiating countries in releasing the draft consolidated text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, following the eighth round of negotiations that took place from April 12 to 16, 2010, in Wellington, New Zealand.
“Canada has been a leader in calling for greater transparency throughout this process. I am pleased to see that our partners have agreed to release the draft text,” said Minister Van Loan. “We will continue to consult with a broad range of stakeholders to ensure this agreement reflects the best interests of Canadians.”
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement aims to combat the criminal trade in counterfeit and pirated goods. The countries negotiating the agreement are Australia, the European Union and its member countries, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Switzerland and the United States. The next round of negotiations will take place in Switzerland in June 2010.
A draft copy of the text can be found online here.
The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, today wrapped up his first official visit to Washington, D.C., where he and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk agreed to hold regular meetings to keep the Canada-U.S. trade relationship strong.
“The United States is Canada’s most valuable trading partner and it is important that we have meetings twice a year to seize the opportunities and address the challenges that lie ahead of us,” said Minister Van Loan. “Building on our already strong economic partnership with the United States helps create jobs, stimulates our economies and ensures our long-term competitiveness. I look forward to welcoming Ambassador Kirk to Canada this summer.”
In 2009, Canada-U.S. bilateral trade in goods and services was over $592.7 billion, with $1.6-billion worth of goods and services crossing the Canada-U.S. border every single day.
In addition, Minister Van Loan and Ambassador Kirk discussed a wide range of issues of mutual interest, including the importance of resisting protectionist tendencies and continuing to promote free and open trade, additional access to procurement markets on a permanent basis, the softwood lumber agreement and future multilateral trade agreement opportunities. The Minister emphasized that a lasting economic recovery should be the top priority for our partners worldwide. Read more here.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates outlined yesterday the Obama administration’s long-awaited proposal to reform the U.S. export control system. While there have been many export control reform efforts in recent years, this one is very different because it is being driven by senior government officials as part of a broader effort to increase U.S. exports and related employment, one of the White House’s top priorities. The new proposal also responds to longstanding arguments that reform is needed to both more effectively limit the transfer of goods and technology to bad actors abroad as well as improve the global competitiveness of U.S. companies.
The revised export control system outlined by Secretary Gates will be based on four key principles. Read more here.
China’s new import regulations could have an adverse effect on U.S. manufacturers
There’s a school of thought in some manufacturing circles that suggests that the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs over the past decade can be blamed largely, if not entirely, on China’s emergence as the world’s low-cost producer while flouting the global trade rules that other countries follow. China, for instance, “has consistently manipulated its currency to steal productive capacity from the United States,” observes Kevin Kearns, president of the U.S. Business and Industry Council. This currency manipulation has allowed China to “devastate America’s invaluable productive industries, addict the country to debt-fueled, bubble-created ‘growth’ and destabilize the global economy.” […]
In 2009, the Chinese government launched a series of anti-dumping investigations against the United States involving products such as automobiles, Adipic acid and chicken products, Slipek notes. “During the anti-dumping investigation process, a firm will face challenges importing into China, potentially resulting in detained shipments or demands for more information, thereby adding time and cost to supply chain cycles.” Read more here.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Canada’s goods makers helped push the economy forward in March, according to new figures released by Statistics Canada Thursday. The indicator index rose one% in March compared to February, mainly because of a rise of 3.2% in new orders for manufactured goods, said Statistics Canada.
“The composite leading index [matched] its average monthly increase since July 2009. However, the sources of growth continued to shift away from housing to other sectors of consumer demand and manufacturing,” the statistical agency said in a news release.
Monthly new orders for Canadian goods have risen by 25% since October 2009. Furniture and appliance sales, up 1.3%, also helped drive the index higher in the third month of 2010, a showing that represented the largest gain since June 2006, the agency said.
By contrast, Canada’s housing sector has begun to cool somewhat. Statistics Canada’s monthly measure for the industry inched higher by 0.2%. That showing was the smallest improvement since the economic recovery began in the spring of 2009. At its peak, Statistics Canada said, housing sector conditions improved by five per cent per month.
Summary statistics and a link to the data file are on the Statistics Canada website here.
China, the world’s biggest exporter, started two anti-dumping investigations today and levied tariffs on some nylon products, as it escalated trade spats with the U.S. and the European Union.
Probes were started on a type of optical fiber and caprolactam, a chemical compound, produced in the European Union and the U.S., the Ministry of Commerce said in two statements today. Dumping is the practice of selling goods at below costs.
China is swapping complaints with its two largest trading partners for goods ranging from footwear to tires to poultry, with the U.S. Commerce Ministry yesterday starting a probe into Chinese aluminum products. U.S. and European manufacturers have said the nation is undervaluing its currency, a policy that acts as a subsidy for its producers. Read more here.
Related: U.S. Sets Preliminary Penalties on Chinese Seamless Pipe (Xinhua)
U.S. digital rights advocates and a computer industry trade group on Wednesday criticized the newly released draft text of an international agreement to toughen penalties for copyright theft.
“Substantively, we remain concerned that this proposal lacks the balance that we find in U.S. copyright law, while attempting to export a regulatory regime that favors big media companies at the expense of consumers and innovators,” Gigi Sohn, president of Public Knowledge, a digital rights group, said in a statement.
The European Union’s executive branch and the U.S. Trade Representative’s office on Wednesday both posted texts of the proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) on their websites, years after groups first requested to view the language under negotiation. Read more here.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
U.S. Customs and Border Protection today announced that the NEXUS enrollment center in Fort Frances, Ontario Canada will be able to enroll Free and Secure Trade (FAST) applicants effective Monday, May 3.
The NEXUS enrollment center at 301 Scott Street in Fort Frances, Ontario Canada will be open to FAST applicants from Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. (CST) to 6:30 p.m. (CST).
The FAST program allows pre-screened, low-risk travelers to be processed with less delay by United States and Canadian officials at designated commercial highway lanes at high-volume border crossing locations. Approved applicants are issued a FAST card which they present to the CBP officer when they arrive at the port of entry and proceed to make their declaration.
The FAST cards have enhanced security features that allow U.S. and Canadian citizen cardholders to comply with the documentary requirements under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). To participate, both the United States and Canada must approve an individual’s application. Denial of an application by either country will keep an individual from participating in the FAST program.
The FAST program is a binational program and applicants need to complete an-online application form. Qualified applicants are required to visit a FAST enrollment center for an interview. Interviews can be scheduled on-line using the Global On-line enrollment system located on the FAST Web site here. Applicants can contact the International Falls port of entry at (218) 283-2541 if they have any question on the FAST or NEXUS programs.
The FAST program is available to commercial drivers crossing both the northern and southern borders. Currently, the program has more than 86,000 members.
Within the next 15 years, many of your trucks should be able to zip through Canada-U.S. border crossings without stopping. That’s the prediction of one of America’s most influential customs officials, Thomas Winkowski, who bears the weighty title “Assistant Commissioner, Office of Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Essentially, he’s second in command when it comes to customs and he was addressing a Customs-and-Trade-Compliance conference in Toronto when he made the prediction, in response to a question from the floor.
“In the next 10 to 15 years, the border’s going to be completely different,” he said. “It isn’t going to be a border where everything has to stop. It’s all going to be electronic.”
Winkowski said that new customs-clearance protocols, when they’re completely in place, will mean that any carrier crossing the border will have to be “a trusted partner” of CBP, as will the shippers and manufacturers and drivers. All data about all parties will be available online, so there will be no need for drivers to stop and identify themselves or explain their loads.
Of course in order to reach that goal, he said, the program must have buy-in from all the government agencies involved in all three countries, U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Read more here.
On April 6, 2010, pursuant to paragraph 41(1)(a) of the Special Import Measures Act, the President of the Canada Border Services Agency made a final determination of dumping respecting faced rigid cellular polyurethane-modified polyisocyanurate thermal insulation board originating in or exported from the United States of America.
For a PDF version of the Statement of Reasons, please click here.
A regarding the second phase of new import notification requirements, sent by the Imported and Manufactured Foods Division of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is available here.
The global economy is expected to grow more than initially estimated in 2010, led by growth in emerging and developing economies, the International Monetary Fund said Wednesday, upwardly revising its outlook.
The global lender now sees world economic growth of 4.2% this year, better than the 3.9% expansion predicted in January. Growth is expected to nudge up to 4.3% next year. The global economy contracted by 0.6% in 2009, as world trade slumped and credit froze up.
“We find ourselves at an important new stage of the crisis,” said IMF Research Department Director Olivier Blanchard. “A global depression has been averted. The world economy is recovering, and recovering better than we had previously thought likely.” However, Blanchard added that achieving strong, sustained, and balanced growth would require more work, namely fiscal consolidation in advanced countries, exchange rate adjustments, and a rebalancing of demand across the world. Read more here.
Airlines moving shipments faster than expected
Airlines are clearing cargo backlogs in Europe more quickly than expected, although the logjam in Asia continues to mount, according to forwarders.
Ceva Logistics said it had obtained information from carriers that indicated it would take three to five days to clear export backlogs from Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Charles de Gaulle and London Heathrow, subject to destination and carrier.
Following the opening of some of the major European cargo airports yesterday, Rhenus Logistics expected it to take around five days to clear cargo backlogs at Amsterdam, but has since said it could be done by the weekend. “The backlog of freight is going faster than expected,” the company said. “This means a number of airlines are already accepting new bookings.” Read more here.
The European Commission has launched the first phase of a new web portal to help businesses to understand and follow the customs procedures for importing goods into and exporting goods from the EU. Designed as a single point of access to relevant and practical information, the portal includes animated scenarios to explain each step of the import, export and transit procedures.
For further information visit the European Customs Information Portal.
The Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (“DDTC”) and the Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) have no qualms about imposing successor liability and penalizing companies for past export violations committed prior to a merger or acquisition. BIS established this in the famous Sigma Aldrich case, while DDTC did the same in the 2003 Boeing/Hughes settlement – each of which resulted in millions of dollars in fines against successor entities. As a result, export compliance due diligence is not only mandatory, but it must be conducted well in advance of the purchase or sale decision (let alone the closing date of any deal). Acting early is essential because it may take many weeks – or even months – to fully understand the complexity and severity of any export control issues. Following this review, it may take another several months to firm up any loose ends with either DDTC or BIS (if necessary). This extended timeline to close export control issues often results in “unknowns” as of the closing date.
It is essential to note here that successor liability attaches to any acquisition, whether as a stock purchase, or the purchase of all or a substantial part of assets on a going-concern basis. Successor liability may also attach where assets are purchased at a bankruptcy trustee’s or receiver’s sale. Read more here.
The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, today met with officials from Canada and the European Union in Ottawa, where a third round of negotiations toward a comprehensive economic and trade agreement are being held.
“An agreement of this magnitude with the European Union represents a huge opportunity for Canadians,” said Minister Van Loan. “A future agreement would give Canada preferential access to the wealthiest single market in the world.”
The Canada-European Union joint economic study, released in October 2008, shows that a stronger economic partnership could boost Canadian gross domestic product by $12 billion annually, and two-way trade with Europe could increase by $38 billion.
“At a time when Canadian business needs it most, our government is ensuring that Canadians can compete and succeed in a global marketplace,” said Minister Van Loan. “Our commitment to free trade is clear and this agreement will benefit many sectors of the Canadian economy, ensuring a lasting recovery and long-term economic growth.”
Video teleconferencing services will be used to assist in this week’s negotiations, as a volcanic ash cloud has caused air travel disruptions across Europe. The talks may be extended into the weekend.
Canada and the European Union have had successful rounds of negotiations in October 2009 and January 2010. Significant progress has been achieved in such areas as goods and services, government procurement, regulatory cooperation and dispute settlement. The fourth round of negotiations is scheduled to take place in Brussels during the second week of July 2010. Read more here.
Minister Addresses Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters’ 19th Annual Conference and Trade Show
…We believe that when businesses succeed, Canadians succeed. Because when businesses succeed, they create jobs, they generate prosperity, and they help support the quality of life people rely on and enjoy here in Canada.
These uncertain global economic times have added some urgency to our government’s efforts to strengthen Canada’s economy. We are putting a strong focus on our Economic Action Plan – to protect incomes, create jobs, ease credit markets and help workers and communities get back on their feet.
Budget 2010 outlines our plan for returning to budgetary balance over the medium term, and well before any other G7 country. We’re helping our manufacturing sector by making Canada the first country in the G20 to become a tariff-free zone for machinery and equipment imports. We’re creating and protecting jobs, and investing in the skills and education of Canadians to build the jobs and industries of the future. And our Economic Action Plan is working to help ensure that, from coast to coast to coast, we are emerging from this economic downturn better than nearly every other industrialized country. But while we may be turning the corner, we are far from fully recovered.
And I’m sure you’d agree that you can’t really talk about a lasting recovery without talking about an aggressive and ambitious trade agenda. Canada is, after all, a trading nation. Trade is equivalent to about 60% of our gross domestic product. And nowhere has our commitment to free and open trade been more successful – or more instructive – than right here in North America. Read the complete address here.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
David Jacobson, the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, will be speaking at the 2010 Global Supply Chain Management Conference, being held from June 15-17, 2010 on the Campus of SUNY Plattsburgh. This is an exciting addition to the list of presenters/speakers.
The conference website is here.
Agency, trade to develop structure for Automated Commercial Environment
Customs and Border Protection is setting up the ACE Business Office to work out the needs of the Automated Commercial Environment. Dan Baldwin, assistant commissioner for international trade, said the business office will work with the trade community to clearly define what they want ACE to do before turning the project over to the Customs information technology office to develop the actual software.
“We decided to create an office to give ACE more structure,” Baldwin said. “Then we can tell the IT people ‘This is what you need to build,’ so we can tell Congress ‘this is what we intend to do and how much money we’ll need to do it.’”
The effort stems from problems Customs has had in getting the $3 billion ACE fully operational. In 2001, Congress put ACE on a 10-year development cycle that runs out in fiscal 2011. Now Customs will have to return to Congress to receive further funding. Customs plans to fund ACE piece-by-piece. The new strategy is to ask Congress for enough money to complete specific projects. Making the business case is what the ACE Business Office will do, Baldwin said. Read more here.
One important point of intersection between natural resources and the multilateral trading system concerns the treatment of natural resource subsidies under the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures. Many countries retain sovereign ownership of natural resources and allow commercial enterprises to exploit these resources under different types of compensation arrangements. The commodities that are thereby produced, or downstream products that are manufactured from those commodities, may become the target of anti-subsidy disciplines (such as countervailing duties) if there is an allegation that the government provided the natural resources on subsidized terms. What, then, does it mean for a government to provide a natural resource subsidy?
The resolution of this question has important implications for international trade in natural resources and products that are produced with natural resource inputs. Countries that pursue economic development and diversification through the exploitation of sovereign natural resources may find that their exports become subject to countervailing duties in other countries or to an action under Part III of the SCM Agreement. One of the longest-running trade disputes in history, the softwood lumber dispute between the United States and Canada, is fundamentally a dispute about natural resource pricing. In addition, the question of how countries should price natural resources to avoid anti-subsidy disciplines is closely related to how a country should price natural resources to promote conservation and sustainable yields. Read more here.
A research report of China’s foreign trade sector Sunday predicted the world’s largest exporter would more than double its foreign trade volume by 2020. It also called on China to improve the quality of foreign trade sector and to lower import tariffs to promote the nation’s trade balance.
The report, launched by the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) Sunday at the ongoing 107th China Import and Export Fair, the country’s largest trade fair held in the southern city of Guangzhou, predicted the China’s foreign trade volume would hit 5.3 trillion U.S. dollars by 2020.
Merchandise exports will top other countries and be 2.4 trillion U.S. dollars in 2020, 10.1% of the world total, while imports will reach 1.9 trillion U.S. dollars and rank second largest, accounting for 8.2% of the world total, according to the report, jointly compiled by researchers with think-tanks under the MOC, the Ministry of Finance, and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The report was seen by analysts and officials as a “road map” which lays out a theoretical basis for the reforms in China’s trade policies and mechanisms over the next decade. Read more here.
Canada: Consultation on Cryptography Exemption to Licensing of Exports of Information Security Technology
The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is currently engaged in consultations relating to export controls of goods or technology employing cryptography. The government is seeking information on the way in which different countries are interpreting the scope of an export licence exemption for products sold at the retail level to the general public. The consultation is in regards to those that have obtained a ruling or have received other supplementary information from the U.S., European or other Wassenaar Arrangement participating states on the operation of the exemption in that foreign country. These consultations are ongoing, with submissions by interested parties due by April 30, 2010.
Canada restricts the export of certain goods and technology. Many such restrictions are found in Canada’s Export Control List. When a good or technology is captured by the Export Control List, the exporter must first obtain an export permit before shipping the good or technology abroad, although many restrictions do not apply to exports to the U.S. provided the goods or technology are used in the U.S. and not merely transferred to a third country through the U.S. Among other things, the government uses the Export Control List to bring into force commitments made by Canada as a party to various international agreements regulating the export of goods and technology. Read more here.
Related: Manufacturers Issue Recommendations for Long-Term Export Control Reforms (World Trade Interactive)
The Canadian government may loosen the labeling rules for food products to qualify as ‘Products of Canada’, to allow for ingredients that are difficult to source in Canada. Minister of State for Agriculture Jean-Pierre Blackburn said on Monday that the government was committed to concluding consultations with industry and consumers about the labeling of Canadian processed foods.
The present rule, put in place by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2008, only allows foods that contain at least 98% Canadian-produced ingredients to be labeled ‘Product of Canada’. The law was meant to close a loophole that allowed any product to be labeled ‘Product of Canada’ as long as at least 51% of the production cost was met in Canada. This meant that some, or indeed all, of the ingredients could be produced elsewhere.
But many food manufacturers have argued that the new rule unfairly limits the number of products that can claim to be Canadian. Read more here.
Monday, April 19, 2010
The eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland has had an extraordinary effect on the air transport system of northern Europe. Since Thursday the air space of first Britain, Norway, the Netherlands and now Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Sweden and Switzerland have been shut to all commercial traffic. The suspension of activity is set to continue into at least the beginning of the week. Further disruption seems likely as the volcano will certainly continue to erupt. […]
The obvious reaction by logistics planners will be to use other modes of transport. This is not as difficult as it might first appear. Air freight for traffic within Europe is of secondary importance.
Although the location of a number of very large airports, it is often just as quick to move goods within Europe by road. A good example of this is traffic between Britain and France. This route has access to good ferry services and roads. These can easily be stretched to more distant locations such as Spain or Germany. Read more here.
• Shippers Face Steep Air Cargo Rate Hikes (JOC)
• Air Freight Backlogs Build Across Asia (International Freighting Weekly)
The new application form was designed to facilitate the application process for industry, allowing them to have multiple options when filling it out, and providing clear and concise instructions on how to submit a complete form to avoid delays.
While measures like these are taken to provide optimal customer service to our importers/clients, please keep in mind that our mandate is first and foremost safeguarding Canada’s plant resource base. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) delivers programs to ensure the protection of plant health, and it is our role to preserve the integrity of these programs.
In order to continue to operate within our current legislative framework (Plant Protection Act and Plant Protection Regulations), we ask that all applications be:
• signed by the applicant prior to submission. All incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant for revision.
• followed by an original hard copy via mail/courier within a reasonable time if initially submitted by fax or email.
This is in line with Subsection 10(2) of the Plant Protection Regulations: “Where a document referred to in subsection (1) is furnished in electronic form, an original hard copy of the document shall be furnished to the Minister or an inspector within a reasonable period after the document is furnished in electronic form.”
Please click here for a revised version of the application form.
The CFIA is working on having a full online application system using a secure method of receiving and sending confidential information (i.e., confidential business information, credit card numbers, etc). Until this system is fully developed, we must take all necessary measures to preserve the integrity of the permitting process.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact:
Import Permit Office • Phone: 613-221-4312
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk has rejected calls by American lawmakers for dairy to be excluded from a free trade deal that includes New Zealand. The legislators want Mr Kirk to exclude dairy from the eight-country Trans Pacific Partnership.
The call from the Congressional dairy farmers caucus followed a letter from 30 senators in March opposing dairy’s inclusion. It claims increased imports of New Zealand dairy products will depress already-low prices and devastate the U.S. industry.
But Mr Kirk says it is too early to exclude sectors from a possible deal and improving access to overseas markets as a result of the deal could be a boost for American farmers.
Meanwhile, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has expressed unease at the inclusion of Canada in the Trans Pacific Partnership. Canada, which has a strong local dairy lobby, is not currently part of the talks but is believed to be pressing to join. Read more here.
“America’s system for regulating industrial chemicals is broken” – Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
[Friday] Congress revealed its initial plan to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act. TSCA is the primary law with which the Environmental Protection Agency regulates chemicals in U.S. commerce. It has not been updated since its enactment in 1976. While a full bill was introduced in the Senate by Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), the House released a discussion draft which will be worked on in the coming months by a broad group of stakeholders including government, industry and non-governmental organizations.
The Lautenberg bill and the House draft reflect congressional priorities such as:
• requiring manufacturers to provide minimum data on chemicals
• requiring EPA to prioritize a list of hazardous chemicals
• creating a public database of information about priority chemicals
• creating incentives to promote green chemistry
Nine years after being forced to remove quantitative restrictions on imports under WTO, India proposes to bring changes in the domestic law enabling it to protect its industries against import surges.
The Standing Committee of Parliament has more or less approved a provision in a bill to amend the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act. The committee was informed by the Commerce Ministry that the quantitative restrictions (QR) provisions are available to all members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). For availing this facility, the country is required to have an enabling domestic law.
India had to remove QRs on over 700 items in 2001 after it lost a case in WTO against the U.S. which had challenged these restrictions on import of large number of industrial and agricultural items. Read more here.
President Barack Obama said on Friday that updating Cold War-era restrictions on U.S. high-technology exports would help the United States create new jobs and boost economic growth. “We are losing business opportunities unnecessarily,” Obama said in a meeting with outside economic advisers just days before Secretary of Defense Roberts Gates is expected to lay out plans for revamping U.S. export controls.
U.S. manufacturers have long complained they are losing high-tech sales to competitors in Europe and Asia because of cumbersome rules designed when the United States was locked in an ideological battle with the Soviet Union.
“We’re also, I actually think, impeding effective monitoring of our national security because if you have export controls across everything you’re not spending time focusing on the handful of things that really do touch on sensitive national security,” Obama said.
Gates is expected to outline actions the administration will take to update and streamline U.S. export controls on commercial goods with potential military applications in a speech on Tuesday, as well as propose additional reforms it would like Congress to make.
“It’s going to be entirely grounded in our national security needs but I think will have a strong potential impact on where we can go in terms of exports,” Obama said. Read more here.
Emerging optimism prevails in the manufacturing sector that the ‘Great Recession’ is finally turning to recovery, according to the quarterly Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI Survey. The March 2010 composite index rose to 78% from 57% reported in the December 2009 report, representing the highest level since the June 2004 survey registered 80%, and marks the second straight quarter it has reached 50% or above.
Just one year ago the March 2009 index registered an historic low 21%.
“The sharp increase in the composite index, along with significant improvement in individual indexes, point to increased confidence that the manufacturing sector will continue to recover from the rapid decline that took hold in the fourth quarter of 2008 and continued through the first half of 2009,” said Donald A. Norman, Ph.D., MAPI Economist. “It is important to recognize, however, that many of the individual indexes are based on year-over-year comparisons and the composite index measures the direction of change rather than the absolute strength of activity in manufacturing. Still, the extent of the increases clearly points to further expansion.” Read more here.
A group of state and local political, labor and business leaders gathered this morning [Friday] to express their solidarity for a new public Detroit River bridge, and to lobby for passage of legislation that they call the final hurdle to its creation.
Specifically, the group that included Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer advocated for passage of HB 4961, which would allow Michigan to enter into public-private partnership for its portion of the $5.3 billion Detroit River International Crossing project.
The bill is in the House Transportation Committee and is expected to be taken up this month, DRIC’s backers said in a statement today. If the bill is passed, work on the crossing could begin this year. […]
Backers say the bridge is needed to create 10,000 Michigan construction jobs over five years and 25,000 additional full-time, permanent Michigan jobs created or retained once the bridge is built. It’s also said to be needed to bolster trade capacity and to provide redundancy in case of accident or terrorist attack on the current border infrastructure.
Opponents, who include Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel Moroun and a bloc of state Legislators led by Sen. Alan Cropsey, R-DeWitt, say the new bridge is unneeded because border traffic has declined since 1999.
DRIC is a joint effort by the Michigan Department of Transportation, Transport Canada, Ontario’s Transportation Ministry and the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, and it would link Detroit’s Delray neighborhood and Windsor’s Brighton Beach area with a new bridge to connect I-75 and Highway 401.
It’s expected to take 48 to 52 months to finish and the entire project has a $5.3 billion price tag, with the bridge itself at up to $1 billion. The remainder would be highway, ramp and plaza work, including the Windsor-Essex Parkway that is separate from DRIC and is purely a Canadian effort. Read more here.
Countries negotiating a deal to curb trade in fake and pirated goods are close to reaching an agreement in talks that have raised concerns among digital rights advocates, U.S. trade officials said on Friday.
“The agreement can be concluded soon if other participants make it a priority to achieve such progress now,” Nefeterius McPherson, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative’s office, said in a statement.
Digital rights advocates have feared the proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement could allow customs agents to confiscate laptop and music devices if they contain illegal downloads, while other groups have worried it could restrict trade in low-price generic drugs. Read more here.
The federal agency that oversees people entering the United States from Canada is scrapping plans to build a new, larger port of entry in the Maine border town of Forest City.
Instead, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is planning to build a smaller facility on federal land across the border from the New Brunswick community that is also called Forest City. Read more here.
Friday, April 16, 2010
The list of goods currently subject to measures under the Special Import Measures Act (SIMA) and the relevant countries of origin or export has been updated, and is available on the CBSA website here.
CBSA has posted on its website a revised short version of the AMPS Master Penalty Document (MPD). This document has been updated to reflect the new penalty amounts.
Please note that the backgrounders are no longer shown...
The new MPD is available here.
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced yesterday historic agricultural partnerships between Canada and China. Canadian pulse producers led the way with initiatives that will increase the value of Canadian pulse exports to China to an estimated total of $500 million. Minister Ritz made the announcement following an agricultural trade mission to Beijing and Inner Mongolia where he and Canadian farm leaders worked together to strengthen export opportunities for Canadian pulses, canola, beef, grain, and hogs.
“Fifty years ago, Canadian farmers made history by delivering huge shipments of wheat to answer an urgent call for food in China and we are proud of the close partnership we have with China that remains strong today,” said Minister Ritz. “We’re making history again as China continues to lead the world by striving to make its food supply more nutritious and Canadian producers are stepping up with innovative new techniques and products to answer that call.”
Canadian pulse exports to China are projected to expand rapidly based on three factors. First, China agreed to remove import restrictions on Canadian peas after joint research demonstrated that there is no health risk associated with naturally occurring selenium. Second, Pulse Canada and the Chinese Cereals and Oils Association signed a memorandum of agreement to increase the nutritional benefits of staple Chinese foods by adding pulse ingredients. Third, the Government of Canada will invest more than $1 million to help Pulse Canada and their partners build Canada’s research and processing capacity to produce pulse flours and pulse-based ingredients that can be used in Chinese products.
According to industry estimates and overwhelming interest from Chinese buyers, Pulse Canada projects that pulse exports to China could increase to $500 million from the current value of $100 million. Read more here.
Canada’s exporters are pushing deeper into diverse markets as global trade rebounds from the collapse of the crisis, positioning them to bolster the recovery at a crucial time.
After acting as a drag through much of the downturn, Canadian exports are now being buoyed by the global recovery, as a report from Statistics Canada on Tuesday signalled that international trade will add to growth for a second straight quarter.
Companies are relying less on their traditional U.S. markets, boosting shipments to countries such as Germany, Mexico, Britain, Turkey, Ghana, Hong Kong, Australia and Brazil, and finding stronger demand for their goods.
Trade has lingered as the biggest question mark hanging over Canada’s export-dependent economy, and exporters’ ability to expand their reach beyond the slowly healing U.S. market is widely viewed as a key to longer-term economic health. Growth in exports will be particularly crucial if rising interest rates cut into domestic spending. Read more here.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Cargo flights among those canceled across the continent
Drifting ash from a volcanic eruption in Iceland forced airports across northern Europe to shut down on Thursday, canceling as many as 4,000 passenger and cargo flights.
Eurocontrol, the pan-European air traffic control agency, said flights were being affected Thursday to and from the U.K., Scandinavia, Belgium and the Netherlands.
All flights in and out of the U.K. were suspended until 6 p.m. local time at the earliest. Officials said it is too early to say how long it will take the ash to clear. Air space in northern Germany likely will be closed later Thursday, and French authorities are considering whether to close air corridors over France. Read more here.
Ottawa’s insistence on protecting dairy industry with tariffs at issue
New Zealand’s Prime Minister is warning that unless Canada abandons its protections for the dairy industry, it will not be allowed to join a landmark trade agreement being negotiated among Pacific nations.
Canada has no free trade agreements anywhere in Asia, and a failure to sign on to an expanded Trans-Pacific Partnership would leave this country shut out of the Asia-Pacific region, which is widely viewed as the engine of economic growth in the 21st century.
John Key, who was in Ottawa on Wednesday for talks and dinner with Stephen Harper, said he told the Prime Minister that he hoped Canada would ultimately join the TPP, as it is commonly called.
But “I made it clear, from New Zealand’s point of view, we would want to engage in flexible and comprehensive agreements,” he maintained.
When asked whether any nation would be permitted to join the agreement while carving out protections for its dairy industry, he replied: “That is not our intention. No.” Read more here.
From 2001 to 2009, U.S. exports to China increased 262.8 percent, while its overall exports growths was only 45.5 percent.
“China has become the United States’ fastest-growing overseas market,” said Yao Jian, spokesman of China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) Wednesday.
Data from the U.S. government showed that its exports to China increased by 55.2 percent in the first two months of 2010, 38 percentage points higher than its overall exports growth.
In 2009, impacted by the global financial crisis, U.S. exports to China dipped only 0.22 percent and the trade deficit with China fell 15.4 percent, while its overall exports dropped nearly 18 percent.
“In 2009, among the U.S. automakers’ 10 largest overseas markets, China was the only one that witnessed growth. The U.S. aircraft producers’ exports to China grew 36.5 percent in 2009 while its total exports fell 1.8 percent,” said Yao. Read more here.
It’s been called the Great Recession by many around the globe. But Statistics Canada says the economic meltdown that devastated the economies of dozens of countries large and small in 2008 and 2009 left Canada relatively unscathed.
According to the federal agency, Canada did suffer through a technical recession – a 3.3% drop in gross domestic product over three quarters between the fall of 2008 and the summer of 2009. But that was shorter and milder than Canada’s previous two recessions. For example, the 1981-82 slump saw GDP fall 4.9% over six quarters, while the 1991-92 downturn resulted in a 3.4% fall-off in output over four quarters.
Recessions are mostly felt by those who lose their jobs, and on this measure the latest downturn was especially mild. Statistics Canada says employment fell just 1.8% in the recent recession, compared with 3.2% in 1991-92 and 5% in 1981-82.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), working in partnership with the provincial trucking associations, law enforcement and representatives from the insurance industry, has launched a study to examine cargo crime activity in Canada and explore possible solutions.
“The purpose of this study is to identify the trends in cargo crime across the country, identify best practices in combating cargo crime, and develop an action plan for the private and public sector to address this important issue,” said CTA CEO David Bradley. […]
“There appears to be much momentum within the carrier, insurance and law enforcement communities to deal with this issue. The goal of this study is to focus these efforts in one direction by consulting with stakeholders and recording their recommendations on what needs to be done.” Read more here.
Rail likely to benefit as shippers cut transportation costs, carbon footprint
Domestic intermodal rail weathered the economic recession better than most transportation modes, and the industry appears now to be on the verge of experiencing unprecedented growth. The growth in domestic intermodal will be driven by shipper requirements to reduce transportation costs, improved reliability of intermodal services by all rail carriers and corporate America’s desire to reduce its carbon footprint.
“The changes are so profound I believe we are at an inflection point,” Brian McDonald, vice president of intermodal at Union Pacific Railroad, told the Los Angeles Transportation Club.
UP is a case in point. Domestic intermodal was the only sector of UP’s 40 commodity lines to grow during last year’s recession. In fact, UP handled a record number of domestic intermodal units in 2009.
Changing customer requirements will be a primary driver of domestic intermodal growth. Traffic managers are acting under a mandate to reduce transportation costs, and substituting domestic intermodal for over-the-road trucking is the quickest way to cut costs over longer distances, McDonald said. Read more here.
Annual exports by companies in the greater San Antonio area already total more than $5 billion, but under President Obama’s National Export Initiative, local exporters should stand to benefit tremendously, said a top ranking Commerce Department official during a San Antonio visit.
Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sanchez, who leads the International Trade Administration, said Wednesday that the president’s National Export Initiative is designed to double exports of U.S. goods and services during the next five years. […]
“Increasing U.S. exports is critical to our nation’s economic recovery and long-term economic growth,” Sánchez says. “The National Export Initiative is a single, comprehensive strategy to promote American exports and American jobs. It will coordinate and leverage the relevant public- and private-sector resources to push and promote the sale of American goods and services abroad.”
One of the aspects of this initiative is to help more companies extend their global reach by exporting to additional countries.
“About 58 percent of U.S. exporters export to only one market,” Sánchez adds. “Imagine the national benefit if by working together we can help companies export to two or more markets in a world in which 95 percent of their customers are outside our borders.” Read more here.
Letter co-signed by 78 members of Congress cites safety issues, addresses retaliatory tariffs
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) sent a bipartisan letter signed by 78 Members of Congress Wednesday to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, asking that they consider repealing the program that opens U.S. roadways to Mexican trucks. The program, suspended since early last year under the Obama administration, was begun under the Bush administration under the provisions of the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement.
But Mexico “has no meaningful system for commercial driver’s licenses, drug testing or hours of service. . . . [NAFTA] is a trade agreement that threatens the safety of the American public,” DeFazio wrote.
DeFazio chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s highways and transit subcommittee. The letter was also signed by Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), who chairs the full committee. Read more here.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Haiti Goods Deemed to be Directly Shipped to Canada for the Purposes of the General Preferential Tariff (GPT) and the Least Developed Country Tariff (LDCT)
This memorandum contains the text of the Regulations exempting goods originating in Haiti, for which the benefits of the General Preferential Tariff (GPT) or the Least Developed Country Tariff (LDCT) will be claimed, from the condition of direct shipment from Haiti on a through bill of lading when the goods are shipped through a port in the Dominican Republic.
This memorandum also contains a reference and link to information regarding the entry and accounting of these goods when other supporting documentation respecting the shipment of goods is unavailable at the time of accounting.
With lead banned in children’s products by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), many American politicians, regulators and consumer groups are now calling for a ban on cadmium, another toxic metal that has been used in consumer products. Cadmium is a soft, bluish-white, natural metal with a very-low melting point. It has been used in batteries and jewelry, as well as in coatings on consumer products. Various studies have concluded that it is toxic and that certain exposure levels can lead to significant health problems. As a result, the use of cadmium has been on the decline in recent years. However, with the recent lead ban, it has been reported that some non-U.S. manufacturers in the last two years have turned to cadmium as a replacement for lead.
Cadmium is strictly regulated in the European Union. In the United States, the laws addressing cadmium are not as comprehensive. Only one federal statute deals with its use in consumer products, and this law – in place since 2008 as part of the CPSIA – only bans its use in coatings for children’s toys. This toy-coatings ban is enforced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). No particular CPSC federal statute bans the use of cadmium in other consumer products, including children’s products such as jewelry. The CPSC has a general enforcement statute in place, known as the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA), which theoretically permits it to ban products containing "hazardous substances." Read more here.
Canada third in G8 compliance, study finds
While Canada pressures Americans to keep borders open to trade – pushing back against Buy American provisions and anti-NAFTA congressmen – in the last year, this country has been as bad as any of its G8 peers in living up to free trade commitments, says a new report.
G8 leaders, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, vowed in a joint declaration last July at Italy’s L’Aquila summit to "refrain from raising new barriers to investment or to trade in goods and services, imposing new exports restrictions or implementing World Trade Organization inconsistent measures to stimulate exports" as a key means of encouraging the global economic recovery.
Since then, Canada’s actions has earned it the lowest score it has ever received in the 10 years that report cards have been issued by the University of Toronto’s G8 Research Group, said the group’s chairwoman, Erin Fitzgerald. "Given that Canada historically performs very strongly, usually around second place, we were quite surprised this year. The low score, the relative ranking with regard to the other countries, is largely due to the trade commitment," Ms. Fitzgerald said.
France, Germany, Italy, Russia, the U.K. and the United States were all similarly penalized for raising trade barriers – mostly against Asian steel and shoes – in the regular report on how well G8 countries lived up to their commitment. Japan was the only G8 member to fully honour its L’Aquila pledge. Canada’s poor showing on trade resulted in the country slipping to third place in its compliance with G8 declarations, behind the U.S. and Japan, the lowest it has ranked on any post-summit report card. Read more here.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Please be advised that as a result of the Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) Review, late accounting penalties for high value shipments (Contravention C288) and for low value shipments (Contravention C292) will be assessed at $100.00, effective April 14, 2010. Further information regarding the key changes to the AMPS regime is provided in Customs Notice CN10-002. For questions regarding the AMPS review, the policy contact is Colleen McGonigle (613-952-5203); for questions concerning these specific contraventions (late accounting penalties), the policy contact is Doug Oakman (613-941-3123).
Carriers keep capacity tight ahead of contract negotiations and rate rises
U.S.-destined containers are piling up in Chinese ports and bookings are being delayed as carriers keep a tight control on capacity in the run up to annual contract negotiations and May’s rate increases. Industry contacts told IFW that carriers had avoided re-introducing tonnage to the trade because they do not want there to be spare capacity while annual contracts are being negotiated at the end of April and because they want to implement rate hikes of between US$800 and $1,000 per 40ft container in May.
The tight capacity has created an auction for space, with carriers prepared to roll containers – cancel the booking on one ship for a ship leaving later – in favour of higher-paying cargo.
One contact said space from north China, particularly Tianjin, Qingdao and Dalian, was extremely tight, with most vessels heading to Vancouver, Tacoma and Seattle running full. Space from south China was slightly easier to come by.
GAC regional logistics manager Peter Orange said: “The carriers are pushing for general rate increases (GRIs) – whether they get the full amount depends on how the contract negotiations go. Contracts are very important to us, not just in terms of space, but also in terms of access to capacity – particularly out of China.” Read more here.
Canada posted a larger-than-expected trade surplus of C$1.4 billion ($1.4 billion) in February on increased exports of industrial goods and materials, Statistics Canada data indicated on Tuesday. Analysts had predicted Canada would run a surplus of C$0.60 billion in February.
Exports grew by 2.8% to C$34.02 billion on the back of a 7.2% leap in the value of industrial goods and materials. Prices and volumes both rose by 1.4%, the fifth such advance in the last six months.
Imports increased by 0.9% to C$32.62 billion, thanks largely to shipments of machinery and equipment (up 3.3%) and automotive products (up 3.5%). Imports of energy products dropped 14.2%.
Exports to the United States, which in February took 74% of all Canadian exports, increased by 2.0% while imports grew by 1.2%. Canada's trade surplus with the United States grew to C$4.40 billion from C$4.16 billion in January.
Read more here. Summary statistics and links to the data files are on the Statistics Canada website. Export and import price indexes can be found here.
Trade data on Tuesday provided another piece of evidence that spending by consumers and businesses was picking up, bolstering hopes that the recovery was gaining momentum.
The Commerce Department’s monthly report on trade showed a 1.7 percent increase in imports. Exports barely rose, leading the trade deficit to increase 7.4 percent from January, to $39.7 billion, more than forecast.
The surge in imports, while reflecting a healthy pickup in spending, may be a drag on economic expansion in the short term. That is because the government subtracts imports when it calculates gross domestic product, the total value of goods and services in the economy. […]
Much of the growth in imports came from consumer goods, like televisions and pharmaceutical products, as the jobs market improved slightly and Americans began to spend more.
Businesses imported goods to restock inventories and replace aging equipment. Industrial supplies and capital goods, like machinery and tools, bolstered much of the growth. Read more here.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Delays in the processing of shipments at the National Import Service Centre have been reported since the closure of the Western Import Service Centre, on April 1st 2010. CFIA is making every effort to resolve these issues and has progressively decreased the processing delays over the last few days. We anticipate that processing times will continue to improve until which point CFIA is in a position to resume delivering our normal service standard (45 minutes for EDI and 2 hours for paper transactions). In an effort to decrease congestion at the NISC, and assist CFIA in improving turnaround time, we would kindly ask that Importers/Brokers please avoid faxing duplicate import release requests to the NISC.
We would like to remind you that the pre-approval (PARS) is available for all regulated commodities, other than meat, for up to 30 days. We encourage Importers/Brokers to take advantage of the pre-approval process to avoid delays at the time of import. For more information follow this link.
We will continue to manage the situation and make all necessary adjustments to ensure that CFIA continues to meet our service standards. We thank you for your usual cooperation.
Trade group says members may be able to manage containers into better position
Freight brokers are studying whether they can help correct a steep imbalance in transportation equipment availability that is hurting efforts of U.S. exporters to get goods to overseas markets.
The Transportation Intermediaries Association asked executives at the group’s annual meeting last week in Tucson, Ariz., to look at whether its broker members can coordinate their transport management and information on shipments to help get ocean containers in better position for shippers at U.S. inland points to use them.
American exporters, particularly agriculture shippers, are showing growing frustration this year with the lack of the containers they need to get goods to gateways. Containership operators say they want to serve the U.S. export market. But rates for the shipments and pricing for imports remain too low, they say, and won’t support the cost of getting containers to export markets that are often far from inbound destination points. Read more here.
When it comes to trade policy, April has been anything but the cruelest month for the United States. The question, however, is whether this good fortune will remain.
Friday, press reports out of Beijing indicated that the Chinese government will soon allow the country’s currency to appreciate, a long-standing wish for American manufacturers who feel that they’re being undercut by cheap imports from Asia. But if the renminbi appreciates only slightly against the dollar, U.S. producers won’t have much to cheer about.
Earlier this week, U.S. trade negotiators said they were close to reaching an agreement with Brazil to resolve an eight-year dispute over U.S. cotton subsidies. If a deal is reached, major U.S. industries including autos, pharmaceuticals and wheat producers may escape some $820 million in retaliatory measures from Brazil. The deadline for a settlement is less than two weeks away.
And last month, a World Trade Organization panel reportedly determined that the European Union provided Airbus with subsidies that run afoul of international trade rules. Problem is, both Airbus and its chief U.S. rival, Boeing, have claimed victory. (Airbus says the trade organization rejected 70% of U.S. claims.) A final report isn’t expected until June. Read more here.
Lumber prices have recovered enough to allow Canadian forestry firms to begin paying a lower export tax on softwood shipments to the United States starting in May, British Columbia officials said on Friday. Data released on Friday showed the North American lumber price over the past four weeks has averaged $325 per thousand board feet, high enough to reduce the tax rate paid by Western Canadian sawmills to 10% from 15%.
It marks the first time that lumber prices have been high enough to allow for a tax rate reduction since the taxes were imposed under the 2006 U.S.-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement, British Columbia Forests Minister Pat Bell said. Major lumber producers in British Columbia and Alberta include West Fraser Timber, Canfor, Tolko Industries, and International Forest Products.
Eastern-headquartered producers include Tembec and Domtar, which recently announced it was selling its mills to newcomer Eacom Timber Corp. Sawmills in Central Canada, whose exports are subject to a combination of export taxes and shipment quotas, will see the tax rate drop to 3% from 5% and quota restrictions ease slightly. Read more here.
Canada’s Export Control List contains a list of a wide range of items that may have been created for general commercial use but that may also have a military application (the “Dual-Use List”). Exports of these items to countries other than the United States generally require an export permit. Category 5, Part 2 of the Dual-Use List is of particular importance for many companies as it captures many forms of encryption software, including hardware which uses encryption software and, in some cases, may even apply to the transfer or sharing of information. Due to the potentially broad application of Category 5, Part 2, many innocuous items created for general commercial use, but that may have a relatively small encryption element (such as cell phones, radios, cable modems, etc.), may require an export permit.
Read the complete article here.
By the middle of next week, another infrastructure-related government-linked entity will have priced an initial offering of debt securities. But this transaction is different: It will mark the first time that debt has been raised against a group of port assets.
Port Metro Vancouver, the marketing name for the country’s largest and busiest port – it handles about $75-billion in goods with more than 160 trading economies each year – is seeking to raise a maximum of $100-million by selling 10-year debt. Road shows get underway next week in Eastern Canada for the offering of unsecured debentures. The issuer, which will use the proceeds repay to bank debt, has been rated AA by Standard & Poor’s.
Port Metro Vancouver is responsible for the operation and development of the assets and jurisdictions of the combined former Fraser River Port Authority, North Fraser Port Authority and Vancouver Port Authority. It now operates as The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, which is a non-shareholder, financially self-sufficient corporation, established by the federal government in January 2008. Read more here.