Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Proposed CBSA Initiatives Relating to Account Security, Electronic Funds Transfer and Requests for Adjustments (B2s)

(IE Canada)

On June 30, 2010 the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) called a meeting via conference call of the Broker Licensing and Account Security Working Group to announce two CBSA initiatives arising from the strategic review of the agency that took place last year: (i) the proposed elimination of account security, which is linked to the provision of an electronic funds transfer option; and (ii) the partial automation of requests for adjustments (B2s).

Strategic reviews involve the ongoing assessment of all direct program spending by government departments and agencies and represent a key pillar of a new expenditure management system introduced by the Government of Canada to better manage government spending. Each government department and agency must conduct a strategic review every four years to determine whether their direct program spending and operating costs are effective and efficient; meet the priorities of Canadians; and are aligned with federal responsibilities. Strategic reviews do not necessarily result in cuts to spending but can lead to the reallocation of spending from lower to higher priority areas. More information on strategic reviews is available here.

Elimination of Account Security:
Currently account security, usually in the form of a surety bond, must be posted either by the customs broker or directly by the importer in order for the importer to take advantage of the release prior to payment privilege. The cost to CBSA of administering account security, however, exceeds the funds recouped by CBSA through account security when there is a failure to pay duties and taxes. Release prior to payment privilege, which expedites the release of goods by deferring the payment of duties and taxes, will still be available, but it will no longer be a requirement to post a bond or other form of account security. If there is a failure to pay, CBSA will look to the importer rather than the broker for payment. The importer could also lose its release prior to payment privilege meaning that duties and taxes would have to be paid in order to obtain release of goods. CBSA is aiming to make this change by 2012/13.

Electronic Funds Transfer:
Linked to the elimination of account security is the provision by CBSA of an electronic funds transfer option for paying duties and taxes. CBSA is currently in the process of upgrading its accounts receivable systems. Part of the scope of this project is electronic bank remittances of duties and taxes. This project will not be completed for another two years. I.E.Canada and other trade associations have been advocating for some time for electronic funds transfer and have insisted that it has to be a condition of the elimination of account security. Assuming this initiative goes through, it would be a significant win for the importing community.

Partial Automation of B2s:
Requests for adjustments or B2s currently involve a manual process. CBSA had hoped to fully automate the B2 process but given the age of the Customs Commercial System, which was introduced in the 1980’s, this presents some significant challenges. As an interim step CBSA is proposing to automate the filing of revenue neutral adjustments using the Canada Customs Coding Form B3, type-20. CBSA is proposing to implement this change by 2011.

Canada’s Day

(Export Development Canada – Peter G. Hall)

Canada is capturing world attention on a number of fronts these days. Although better known for our diminutive, self-effacing persona, Canadians could be forgiven for taking special pride in key recent developments. These are especially welcome, given the general abundance of bad international news in the past 24 months, and are a boost to Canada ahead of the coming economic recovery. […]

Canadian exporters also seem to be showing a new openness to international trade. As years of steady currency appreciation eroded our competitiveness with our key trading partner, Canadians began to diversify. Exports to non-traditional destinations swelled at an impressive annual pace toward the end of the last growth cycle, lifting the share of non-US trade from 13% in 2002 up to 22% by 2008. Recession did not interrupt this foray, and sustained strength of the loonie suggests that Canadian exporters will forge ahead, further extending the diversification of our trade activities. […]

…Worries aplenty dog the global economy, but in the midst of the mayhem, Canada has chalked up significant key wins that give hope for continued future success. Happy Canada Day! Read more or watch the video here.

Uncle Sam Wants Your Data [Bill C-42]

(Montreal Gazette – Kevin Dougherty)

Washington would control who boards Canadian flights over U.S.

The Harper government has quietly presented a bill in the House of Commons that would give U.S. officials final say over who may board aircraft in Canada if they are to fly over the United States en route to a third country.

“Canadian sovereignty has gone right out the window,” Liberal transport critic Joe Volpe told The Gazette in recent telephone interview. “You are going to be subject to American law.”

Bill C-42 amends Canada’s Aeronautics Act to allow airlines to communicate passenger information to “a foreign state” for flights over that country without landing. At present, airlines are only required to give passenger information to the U.S. government on flights landing in the United States. Read more here.

Proposed U.S. Legislation Will Impose New Liabilities on Exporters to the USA

(Mondaq – Andrew Hudson and Dianna Gu, Hunt & Hunt)

According to press reports, the U.S. Congress is moving ahead with the Foreign Manufactured Legal Accountability Act (“Act”) and the Act is likely to be approved by the full Senate.

If passed, the Act would require foreign manufacturers of consumer goods imported into the United States to establish registered agents in the U.S. who are authorised to accept service of any documents regarding civil and regulatory actions (“Actions”) in the U.S. against such manufacturers. Consequently, the Act requires that the U.S. state where the registered agent is located to have a substantial connection to the importation, distribution, or sale of the relevant goods. A publicly accessible register of such agents would also be established.

In effect, the Act would require all foreign manufacturers of consumer goods to register U.S. agents or face a ban on the import of their goods to the U.S. Read more here.

Protectionist Policies Continue Despite G-20 Promises – Report

(NASDAQ/Dow Jones Newswires)

Protectionist trade policies continue to be implemented among Group of 20 countries, despite national commitments to the contrary, according to a report.

With unemployment hovering near 10% among the advanced G-20 members, many governments have and continue to adopt protectionist measures with the hope of securing domestic jobs and industry, attempting to shield themselves from global competition. However, a new report by the International Chamber of Commerce with research by the Peterson Institute for International Economics, finds that the effect of such actions is just the opposite. “Protectionist trade measures meant to protect jobs have the opposite effect, because of emulation and retaliation,” said the report.

All G-20 countries have implemented protectionist trade measures over the past two years, and there are hundreds more coming, according to the authors.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

U.S. Senate Passes Bill Setting Tough Formaldehyde Limits on Wood Products

(Lexology – Gary Long, Greg Fowler and Simon Castley, Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP)

The U.S. Senate has approved a bill (S. 1660) establishing stringent emission standards for formaldehyde in new domestic composite wood products and foreign imports. The Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Act, sponsored by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), would amend the Toxic Substances Control Act to set a formaldehyde emission standard of approximately 0.09 parts per million on all composite wood products sold in the United States beginning January 1, 2013.

“Collectively, these would be the toughest standards in the world,” the senators said in press statements. Secondhand products and antiques would be exempt under the legislation. Read more here.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Proposed Rules Would Allow Metric Only Labeling for Some Products


The National Institute of Standards and Technology has issued two publications calling for the amendment of labeling laws to allow the voluntary use of only metric units on some consumer products. NIST researchers suggest that adoption of metric labeling will lead to greater agreement between state and federal labeling laws and simplify domestic and international commerce.

The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA) specifies the type of information that must appear on a consumer product label, including the kind of product, name of the manufacturer or responsible party, and net contents. Products that aren’t covered by the federal law are regulated by the states, which generally follow the guidance of the Uniform Packaging and Labeling Regulations (UPLR), a publication produced by NIST and the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM). The rules in the UPLR are recommended regulations that only become law if and when adopted by individual states.

In 1992, NIST and the NCWM supported Congress’s decision to amend the FPLA to allow manufacturers to label their products with U.S. customary units (inch/pound/pint, etc.) and metric units (centimeter / kilogram / liter, etc.), known as dual unit labeling. Since then, NIST and the NCWM have been working with the states to help them adopt laws that would permit metric only labeling of products under their jurisdiction. Forty-eight states have adopted this approach.

However, some manufacturers worry that the option to label products solely with metric units will confuse consumers and that it will force manufacturers to redesign product packaging.

To allay these concerns, NIST Metric Program coordinator Elizabeth Gentry notes that many products, especially wine and distilled spirits, have been sold with metric-only labels since the early 1980s. A study by her group found that 193 of 1,137 products surveyed in 19 retail stores were labeled with metric units only. More than half of those products were made or distributed by U.S. companies. Moreover, she notes that, under the proposal, use of metric only labeling would be voluntary, as would packaging modifications.

Gentry says there is nothing compelling manufacturers to change package sizing simply because they have the option to use only metric units on their labels. Manufacturers would be free to continue including U.S. customary units (inch/pound/pint, etc.) in the dual unit labeling scheme. The proposed changes to the FPLA would not apply to unit pricing, advertising, recipes, nutrition labeling or other general pricing information.

“We’re suggesting these changes to the FPLA in response to requests by U.S. manufacturers and consumers,” says Gentry. “Manufacturers want to take control of the limited space on their packaging and giving them the option of using only metric units will offer manufacturers more flexibility.”

More information: Download NIST’s guide to Voluntary Metric Labeling here.

The Proposed U.S. Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010 – Current Status

(Lexology – Paul M. Laurenza and Daniel P. Malone, Dykema Gossett PLLC)

The recent, highly publicized Toyota recalls prompted both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to conduct public hearings and to introduce companion bills entitled the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010. Both bills propose to a) strengthen vehicle electronics and safety standards; b) increase accessibility to vehicle safety information; c) hold manufacturers more accountable for misleading or incomplete disclosures; and d) provide NHTSA with considerably more funding and authority.

On May 26, 2010, the House Energy and Commerce Committee reported out H.R. 5381. On June 9, 2010, the Senate Commerce Committee reported out S. 3302. This proposed legislation will likely affect all manufacturers in the industry. Dykema continues to monitor these legislative developments closely. For that reason, we forward this report on the current status of this potentially important legislation. It is not intended to be an exhaustive discussion of each bill. Rather, it generally highlights key common provisions, sets forth major differences between the bills and then briefly sets forth the procedural process that lies ahead. For your convenience, the bills are linked above, should you wish to read them in their entirety. Read more here.

Canada Asks Moscow to Drop Trade Barriers

(Moscow Times)

Canada urged Russia and other G20 countries on Friday to unwind trade barriers erected during the financial crisis as part of a G20 pledge favoring free trade to support the global economic recovery.

Trade Minister Peter Van Loan said in an interview that leaders from the Group of 20 emerging and advanced economies meeting in Toronto should be held accountable for their promise not to adopt protectionist measures, endorsed at the Pittsburgh summit in September.

“So I hope there will be a commitment by countries that are appearing here who have instituted protectionist measures, such as Russia with their tariffs, to actually roll them back and adhere to those commitments,” Van Loan said.

When asked about measures taken by others, such as the European Union or the United States, Van Loan said it was more difficult to take countries to task over non-tariff trade obstacles. Read more here.

China Rebuffs U.S. Trade Criticism

(Reuters – Jonathan Lynn)

China has dismissed U.S. comments that Beijing is blocking a new trade agreement, saying that it was the United States that was stalling progress in the World Trade Organization’s long-running Doha round.

The angry comments, by China’s ambassador to the WTO, indicate how difficult it now is to bridge the gaps in the Doha talks, launched in late 2001, because of differences between the United States and big emerging economies, foremost China.

“Everybody knows what the real reason for the deadlock of the Doha round is and where the main political obstacles come from,” Sun Zhenyu told Reuters on Sunday. “The U.S. is the sole member who insists that we’re still far away from the conclusion of the round. Their new excessive request on an elevated level of ambition is in fact equivalent to a restart of the round and a flagrant deviation from the original negotiation mandates.”

Frustration on both sides has now boiled over into a public war of words, making a deal even harder, a fact recognized by leaders of the G8 countries, who include the United States but not China, when at their summit in Canada on Saturday they dropped a commitment to complete Doha this year and simply renewed a pledge to conclude an agreement. Read more here.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

‘Product of Canada’: Here We Go Again

(Lexology – Ronald L. Doering, Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP)

The new “Product of Canada” guidelines came into effect on December 31, 2008, and were published as the new paragraph 4.19 in the Guide to Food Labelling: “a food product may claim ‘Product of Canada’ when all or virtually all major ingredients, processing and labour used to make the food product are Canadian.” The Guide defines the standard as 98%. It became clear within a matter of months that the standard was too restrictive and that the former producer and processor consensus of 85% would be more workable.

At a meeting of more than 50 representatives of the Canadian food processing industry on April 19, 2010, Minister of State for Agriculture the Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn announced new consultations on the issue but limited the exercise to a consideration of “exempting specific ingredients which are difficult to source in Canada”, i.e., sugar, vinegar and salt.

Who were the interests pushing for these three exemptions? Why not simply lower the threshold to 85%? Emails to officials to get some clarity on these questions remain unanswered.

By selecting without explanation three ingredients, officials have managed to create a minefield when an easy solution was there for the taking. This clumsy consultation, compounded by resort to an awkward computer questionnaire technique, is picking winners and losers while doing nothing to enlighten the consumer. Read more here.

U.S. Ports Expand Capacity to Meet Growing Demand

(Logistics Today)

As global trade begins to rebound, U.S. ports are looking to expand capacity to meet the anticipated demand and are focusing on capital development to meet the infrastructure need, according to a recent study by Jones Lang LaSalle.

“Between 2007 and 2009, the nation’s top 13 ports witnessed an 18.5% decline in total volume as both domestic and foreign consumption waned,” notes John Carver, head of the Ports Airports and Global Infrastructure group at Jones Lang LaSalle. “Fortunately, transpacific U.S. bound trade from Asia started to recover in the second half of 2009 and has started to show a positive impact on West Coast ports, with traffic up 14.8% year-over-year.” Read more here.

U.S. Accuses China of Blocking Doha Trade Talks

( – Reuters)

The World Trade Organization’s long-running Doha round is stuck and a deal is impossible until China and other big emerging economies join real negotiations to open their markets, the U.S. ambassador to the WTO said on Thursday.

The unusually outspoken comments were a sign of Washington’s frustration at the reluctance of China, Brazil and India – among the most dynamic players in the world economy – to create more market opportunities to reach a deal in the talks.

Ambassador Michael Punke said China was stalling on talks on the global trade round sought by the United States, but there were signs that Brazil and India were willing to negotiate. “When it comes to China however we’re getting no engagement whatsoever, not even in terms of process,” he told Reuters. “We find it very hard to see how it is we’re going to be able to move forward with Doha negotiations if China is not even in a position right now to consult with its domestic industry.”

Punke’s comments added to pressure put on China on Wednesday by his boss, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.

With G20 leaders expected to call in Toronto this weekend yet again for a renewed push to conclude the Doha round, his remarks highlight the difficulties in reaching an agreement. Read mpre here.

Canada Strengthens Its Cargo Security with Japan, Singapore and South Korea


The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) announced today that it has signed three Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRAs) with customs organizations in Japan, Singapore and South Korea. The new arrangements will promote a smarter, more secure and efficient border.

The signing took place at the World Customs Organization in Brussels, Belgium. The MRAs confirm that Japan, Singapore and South Korea are using criteria similar to those used by Canada’s Partners in Protection (PIP) program when granting companies membership to their respective cross-border programs: Japan’s Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program, Singapore’s Secure Trade Partnership program and South Korea’s AEO program.

“The signing of these three arrangements is an excellent opportunity for Canada to further develop its trade relationships with Japan, Singapore and South Korea,” said Stephen Rigby, President of the CBSA. “This will provide Canadian companies greater facilitation in these key foreign markets, while further ensuring the security of the supply chain.”

This international cooperation will allow customs agents to focus their efforts on unknown or high-risk areas – a demonstration of how Canada is moving forward to increase cargo security on an international scale while continuing to support economic prosperity.

Members of the CBSA’s Partners in Protection program benefit from having an enhanced reputation as low-risk companies and attract business partners looking for companies with high security standards. In addition, participation in PIP is a prerequisite for expedited cross-border clearance through their participation in Canada’s Free and Secure Trade program.

Growing Global Web of Trade Helping to Blunt Protectionism: Conference Board

(Canadian Business – The Canadian Press)

The economic interdependence fostered by global trade may have sharpened the bite of the recession but is also working to quash protectionist responses, according to a report from the Conference Board of Canada. “The highly integrated nature of global production” could be a pillar of the world’s economic recovery if political policy-makers don’t stand in its way and move to impose measures to protect their own, the think-tank said Thursday. “The prevalence of global supply chains pulled Canada and the world more deeply into recession than would otherwise have been the case,” the board said in its report.

The private-sector forecaster cited Research In Motion’s BlackBerry smartphone as an example of how disruptive new barriers might be, since it’s produced in many locations and “encounters multiple borders.” “Component parts come from Asia, Europe, and the United States,” the board stated in its report. “The device is manufactured in Hungary and Mexico. Research and development and global after-sales service are based in Canada, and the units are sold around the world.”

“Any new trade barriers will not only reduce the flow of final goods exports, but will have a domino effect on all of the related intermediate inputs.” Read more here.

CBP Detroit Implements ‘Ready Lane’ Pilot Program


RFID-Enabled Documents Get Special Lane During Program

U.S. Customs and Border Protection today announced a pilot program at the Ambassador Bridge for travelers with approved Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology-enabled travel documents. The pilot program will start Monday, June 28, and last for 90 days.

CBP will dedicate lane 13, or the “Ready Lane,” for travelers entering the U.S. with a WHTI-compliant, RFID-enabled document. These documents include:

• U.S. Passport card

• Enhanced Driver’s License or Enhanced Identification card

• Trusted Traveler card, such as NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST

• New Permanent Resident card or a new Border Crossing card

“Since the implementation of WHTI in June 2009, travelers have been required to present secure travel documents that denote citizenship and identity when entering the U.S. at land ports,” said Acting Director Field Operations Roderick Blanchard. “The use of RFID technology in these documents enables CBP to further facilitate legitimate travelers as they cross the border into the U.S. This pilot program will help us determine the efficiency and effectiveness of a dedicated RFID lane for those travelers.”

During the pilot program, the “Ready Lane” will be open from 6 to 10 a.m., seven days a week. CBP will monitor the success of the lane and expand the hours of operation as needed to meet the demand for usage.

In order to use this dedicated lane, all adult passengers over the age of 16, must present one of the approved travel documents.

Travelers using the “Ready Lane” are reminded the three simple steps to follow as they approach a U.S. land port of entry with their RFID-enabled travel card:

• Stop at the entry to the inspection lane and wait for a signal to move forward.

• Each passenger removes his or her travel card from its protective sleeve and holds it up, with the flat front face of the card toward a window on the driver’s side. The RFID-enabled cards will be read automatically while the vehicle proceeds to the inspection booth.

• Stop at the inspection booth, and be prepared to present documents for all travelers in the vehicle to the CBP officer.

“The priority lane complements Michigan’s enhanced driver’s license by adding another element of convenience for travelers,” said Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, who secured federal approval of the state’s enhanced license program.

“As the enhanced license becomes even more popular, I applaud U.S. Customs and Border Protection for exploring ways to efficiently accommodate motorists who enjoy its advantages. Our state and federal partnership is responding to the needs of travelers while ensuring the security of Michigan and America.”

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Weekly Scope: Technical Bulletins from GHY at a Glance

An updated list of recently published government memorandums, notices, regulations and decisions for the week ending June 25, 2010 is now available on our website here.

Harper Greets G8 Leaders

(CBC News)

PM hails U.K. budget cuts ahead of dual summit talks

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has formally welcomed G8 leaders at the organization's annual summit in Huntsville, Ont., where they are expected to discuss global security, and Canada's key initiative on maternal and child health.

The leaders of the seven other Group of Eight leading economic powers — France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain, the United States and Russia — are gathering in the exclusive Deerhurst Resort near Huntsville before they join other G20 delegates in Toronto on Saturday.

Ahead of the formal talks, Harper praised Britain's new government for its recent spending cuts, saying British Prime Minister David Cameron's budget “highlighted the very fiscal consolidation” Canada was trying to steer the G20 toward at this weekend's summit in Toronto.

Read more here. Comprehensive information on the G8/G20 Summits at CBC’s In-Depth Coverage website.

Related: UK’s budget vs Japanese experience (BBC Newsnight)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Export Controls Alert: Canada’s Response to Liberalization of Controls on Ancillary Encryption

(John W. Boscariol, McCarthy Tétrault LLP)

Canadian controls over the export or transfer of goods, software and technology containing or designed to work with encryption continue to present challenges for Canadian companies. Export permits must be applied for and obtained in order to export information security items or transfer any related technology from Canada to destinations other than the United States.

Canada’s Export Control List identifies the goods and technology covered by these requirements and imposes a very low threshold of control – encryption with key lengths in excess of 64 bits (in the case of symmetric algorithms). Further, the available exemptions for mass market items and technology and software in the public domain may only be relied upon in very limited circumstances. Read more here.

CEO Survey Shows Cautious Optimism as Sales, Hiring Increases Expected

(Industry Week – Steve Minter)

Business Roundtable second quarter survey shows less enthusiasm for capital expenditures

Some 79% of the United States’ top CEOs expect their company’s sales to increase in the next six months, according to the second quarter CEO Economic Outlook Survey released by the Business Roundtable June 23. The group also indicated an increase in employment, with the number expecting to hire in the coming months increasing from 29% last quarter to 39% this quarter.

But the new survey showed a slight pullback on capital spending, with 43% compared to 47% last quarter saying they will increase their capital spending in the United States and 50% expecting no change over the next six months. An independent study of the index showed that is has predictive power for forecasting GDP growth in both the quarter in which it is released and the next two quarters. Read more here.

DHS Issues Final Rule Covering Buy American Requirements for Textile & Apparel Products

(Textile World – James A. Morrissey)

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued its final rule covering Buy American requirements for its purchases of textile and apparel products under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The agency adopted, without change, its interim rule issued last August 17, and in effect rejected a number of objections from textile manufacturers, organized labor and others.

DHS said it received comments from 26 organizations and individuals and members of Congress who suggested a number of changes, as they felt the interim rule did not carry out the full intent of the legislation. Commentators called for changes in the de minimis exceptions to the rule, the definition of national security interests and the listing of some of the trading partners with which the United States has preferential trade agreements; and they also called for the DHS to “mirror” the Berry Amendment, which covers textile and apparel purchases by the Department of Defense.

Read more here. The text of the final rule is available in the Federal Register for June 9, Vol.75, No.110/Rules and Regulations, here.

Mercosur “Too Small” for Brazil, Claims Sao Paulo Federation of Industries


One of Brazil’s most influential lobbies, the Sao Paulo Federation of Industries, FIESP, claims that Mercosur is an economic space “too small” given the development and “growing international presence of Brazil”. “Mercosur from a trade angle and Latin America from a political angle are turning to be too small for the global interests of Brazil”, said Rubens Barbosa head of FIESP foreign trade council.

Barbosa pointed out that lately Brazil and China, strong trade allies, have become decisive players in the reorganization of global production, following the 2008 downfall, and are increasingly responsible for the growing presence of developing countries in the international stage and in decision making. Read more here.

Related: Say Bom Dia to Brazilian Businesses (Slate Magazine)

Baltic Dry Index Tumbles

(Export Development Canada – Peter G. Hall)

Summer has arrived in the Northern hemisphere, and those expecting a quieter pace may get more than they bargained for. As we enter the season, a growing number of key international indicators are on the wane. One of the more dramatic is the Baltic Dry Index (BDI), an important barometer of global trade activity. In recent days, the Index has seen an alarming freefall. What’s going on?

Increased global trade has drawn growing attention to this particular Index over the past decade. The BDI tracks the prices of shipping raw materials that are key to global industrial production around the world, in vessels of varying size. As movements of these materials indicate anticipated production levels, the Index has increasingly proven itself as a leading indicator of global production and trade.

The steepness of the current tumble is unusual. For a 15-day period ending in mid-June, the Index lost one-third of its value. Although the post-recession period has seen the Index stage two other notable declines, one has to go back to the onset of the recent recession to see a drop this dramatic. The turn of events is unfortunate, as it interrupted what looked like a decent, sustained run of growth.

Read more or watch the video here.

Protectionism During the Crisis Had Minimal Impact on the Global Trade Collapse

(World Bank)

Since the global financial crisis began, many countries have raised tariffs on selected products. But there hasn’t been a widespread increase in protectionism via tariff policies, according to a new working paper by Hiau Looi Kee, Cristina Neagu, and Alessandro Nicita. In fact, using new World Bank estimates that summarize trade policies in a wide range of countries from 2008 to 2009, the authors show that only a handful of countries, including Malawi, Russia, Argentina, Turkey, and China, raised tariffs on frequently-traded products. Some economies, such as the U.S. and the EU, have not used tariffs but instead mainly relied on anti-dumping duties. In the worst-case scenario, the rise in tariffs and anti-dumping duties may have driven down trade by about US$43 billion, or less than 2% of the global trade collapse between 2008 and 2009.

Download the World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 5274.

U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Liability for Inland Portion of Intermodal Shipments

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a ruling June 21 that reverses two Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decisions concerning through bills of lading, which allow cargo owners to contract for transportation across oceans and to inland destinations in a single transaction.

The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that the Carmack Amendment to the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887, which governs the liability of domestic rail carriers, does not cover damages to cargo during the inland leg of an international intermodal shipment moving under a through bill of lading issued by an ocean carrier where no domestic bill of lading was issued and the ocean carrier subcontracted for rail transportation. Instead, such shipments are covered by the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, which regulates bills of lading issued by ocean carriers engaged in foreign trade.

The complete SCOTUS decision can be downloaded from our website.

Global Trade to Help Economies Rebound, Report Says

(QMI Agency/Toronto Sun)

Global trade dragged Canada and other economies more deeply into recession than they would have otherwise gone, but is also likely to drive a faster rebound, a report by an independent think-tank found.

While governments have increased protectionist measures in response to the crisis, the increasingly interlinked nature of the global economy has limited their ability to impose trade barriers, the Conference Board of Canada said.

Economists blame the clampdown on trade following the Great Depression of the 1930s for making that economic crisis longer and more severe than it otherwise would have been. Policymakers have largely avoided that mistake this time around, the report says.

“The highly integrated nature of global production makes it unattractive for governments to impose new trade barriers that affect not only the flow of final goods, but also has a domino effect on all of the related intermediate inputs and components,” said Danielle Goldfarb, associate director of the board's International Trade and Investment Centre. “In short, tight global linkages may have blunted the protectionist response.”

The board urges G20 leaders to commit not just to free trade in goods, but also in services and to liberalize investment rules.

The report is the seventh in a series called Lessons from the Recession and Financial Crisis (available from the Conference Board for $85).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Resisting Protectionism, Promoting Free Trade on Eve of G-8 and G-20 Summits

(Minister of International Trade)

International Trade Minister Peter Van Loan tells American Chamber of Commerce in Canada focus on economy is key to recovery

The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, today [Tuesday] called for increased focus on free and open trade, pointing to the Canada-United States relationship as an example of a free trade success story. The Minister delivered this message to the American Chamber of Commerce in Canada in advance of the G-8 and G-20 summits about to take place in Muskoka and Toronto.

“Canada believes that lasting economic recovery – not just in North America, but around the world – depends on free trade, not protectionism,” said Minister Van Loan. “This is the message we will be delivering to our existing and future trade partners at the upcoming G-20 meeting.”

In his remarks, Minister Van Loan highlighted Canada’s leadership in driving the free trade agenda and opening markets to Canadian businesses and Canadian workers, pointing to the continuing economic recovery as proof that the plan is working.

“Our government’s aggressive free trade agenda, coupled with decisive implementation of the Economic Action Plan, has generated results for Canada’s economic recovery,” said Minister Van Loan. “Our commitment to free trade, to fighting protectionism and to opening doors to new opportunities continues to fuel our economy and create jobs for Canadians at home and abroad. The Canada-United States trade relationship is an example of how partners can benefit from opening their borders to trade.”

The North American Free Trade Agreement has contributed to significant growth in trade and foreign direct investment in North America. Merchandise trade among Canada, Mexico and the United States has doubled since the agreement came into force, reaching $798.5 billion in 2009. It is now one of the largest free trade areas in the world, with some 448 million consumers.

While the Canada-United States trade relationship remains by far Canada’s most significant, Canada is moving to secure access to key markets around the world. In less than four years, the Government of Canada has built on the success of NAFTA by concluding new free trade agreements with Colombia, Peru, Jordan, Panama and the European Free Trade Association: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Customs Brokers Oppose Agent Requirement

(Journal of Commerce – R.G.Edmonson)

Proposed foreign manufacturers act could backfire, say forwarders

Customs brokers are asking the House Ways and Means Committee to weigh in on legislation that would require foreign manufacturers to have registered agents in the U.S. to represent them in state and federal courts.

In a letter to the committee’s leadership Jeff Coppersmith, president of the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America, said that requiring foreign companies to have a U.S. proxy to appear in legal proceedings would prompt other countries to reciprocate.

“It will be very difficult and expensive for small and medium-sized companies to maintain registered agents in all the foreign markets to which they export,” Coppersmith said. U.S. companies would also face uncertainty in the way foreign legal systems would treat them.

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee last week took testimony on the proposed Foreign Manufacturers Legal Accountability Act. The bill is supported by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which says lack of a U.S. agent makes it difficult to bring foreign manufacturers to account for unsafe products.

Fixing ‘Unintended Consequences’

(Industry Week – Jill Jusko)

Proposed legislation to modify 2008’s sweeping consumer product safety law is drawing mixed reactions from manufacturers

Sean Hilbert is among the manufacturers keeping a close eye on proposed draft legislation aimed at modifying the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA). So far, the president of Cobra Moto is not entirely pleased with what he sees. “It’s moving in the right direction. It’s not moving fast enough,” he says.

The draft legislation in question is the Consumer Product Safety Enhancement Act of 2010 (CPSEA), introduced by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) in March and debated in late April at a hearing before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection. It aims to address what some have called the “unintended consequences” of the CPSIA, a sweeping law that reformed U.S. consumer safety laws in the wake of a seeming groundswell of recalls of children’s products, many due to unsafe lead levels.

Among the unintended consequences, the law’s critics say (and proponents as well), is the wide range of children’s products swept up by the lead provisions – even for products not likely to be ingested or mouthed by children, as well as burdensome and expensive testing procedures that could drive smaller manufacturers out of business (and already have, in some instances). The complexity of implementing the legislation is evidenced by several stays of enforcement of lead-content limits for certain products as well as third-party testing requirements. Read more here.

Trade Experts Give G-20 Poor Grades On Resisting Protectionism

(Tom Barkley — Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal)

Group of 20 leaders don’t deserve to pat themselves on the back for avoiding protectionism this weekend, trade experts said Wednesday.

Discriminatory measures hurting trade are on the rise and affecting over 10% of global flows, while the prospects for a deal on the Doha round of trade talks are dimming, said participants at an event hosted by the Washington International Trade Association. […]

Earlier this month, the World Trade Organization, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the United Nations all applauded G-20 leaders for upholding the pledge they made at the first summit in November 2008.

However, those views are disputed by the latest Global Trade Alert… The report published Wednesday found that governments around the world have imposed more than 350 discriminatory measures since the last leaders’ summit in September 2009, bringing the total number that haven’t been reversed to nearly 650 since the first G-20 meeting. Sixteen of the most damaging provisions cover a combined $1.6 trillion in trade flows, or more than 10% of world imports in 2008. Read more here.

U.S. Unveils Broad Crackdown on Piracy, Counterfeit Goods

(Jennifer Martinez — LA Times)

The government-wide effort includes adding 50 FBI agents to focus on intellectual property infringement

The Obama administration unveiled a government-wide strategy Tuesday to crack down on piracy and counterfeit goods, adding more than 50 FBI agents this year to tackle intellectual property abuses.

With the ubiquity of the Internet, online piracy and the sale of counterfeit goods on the Web are growing rapidly across a range of industries, including entertainment, software and pharmaceutical markets.

Vice President Joe Biden, who announced the new program, said that the problem costs Americans jobs and that counterfeit goods threaten lives.

“Whether we’re talking about fake drugs that hurt ... or knock-off car tires that fall apart at 65 miles per hour causing injury and death, counterfeits kill,” Biden said at a White House meeting that included Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr., Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. Read more here.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

‘Silly Rules’ Cost Canadian Economy $8B Each Year

(Brian Lilley — Toronto Sun)

It’s illegal for a Canadian to take a bottle of wine across a provincial border or for a hairdresser to set up shop in another province without undergoing testing.

A new report says these and other goofy rules cost the Canadian economy $8 billion each year.

While the Harper government pursues free trade agreements overseas and has put stopping protectionist measures at the heart of the G8 and G20 meetings, a paper issued Monday by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute says it is time for the federal government to put an end to what one author describes as silly rules. […]

International Trade Minister Peter Van Loan met with his provincial and territorial counterparts in Ottawa on Monday; the issue of trade within Canada was not on the agenda.

“Canada is a free trade leader. Our economic success depends on free trade, not protectionism,” Van Loan said in a press release.

“He’s right,” said Robson. “Now let’s do it at home.”

Read more here. Find out more about the report “Citizen of One, Citizen of the Whole: How Ottawa can strengthen our nation by eliminating provincial trade barriers with a charter of economic rights” by Brian Lee Crowley, Robert Knox and John Robson” here.

Related: Report urges more power for Ottawa (Toronto Star)

Canada Border Services Agency’s Implementation of the Ontario and British Columbia Harmonized Sales Tax


Implementation Date and Rates

In accordance with an agreement between the Government of Canada and the provincial governments of Ontario and British Columbia, effective July 1, 2010, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will begin collecting the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) on non-commercial goods imported for use in the provinces of Ontario (13%) and British Columbia (12%).

“Non-commercial goods” means all goods, other than goods imported into Canada for sale, or for any commercial, industrial, occupational, institutional, or other like use.

Impact on Imported Goods

Beginning July 1, 2010, the importation into Canada of non-commercial goods by or for a consumer that is a resident of Ontario or British Columbia, will be subject to the HST. The HST will apply to non-commercial goods destined for Ontario and British Columbia, regardless of where the goods enter into Canada.

Tobacco taxes and provincial alcohol mark-ups will continue to be collected according to province of entry.

As is the case today, the provincial component of the HST will not generally apply to commercial goods that are imported by an HST registrant for consumption, use or supply exclusively in the course of the commercial activities of the registrant.

Although the provincial portion of the HST is not payable when commercial goods are imported into Canada and destined for a participating HST province, the goods may be subject to self-assessment rules. For more information about the self-assessment rules, please consult the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Web site web site.

Goods Exempted from the Provincial Portion of the HST

Certain non-commercial goods being imported into Canada and destined for Ontario and British Columbia are exempt from the provincial portion of the HST. The list of exempted goods varies by province.

For a complete list of these exemptions, please refer to the exemption table.

Additional Information

For more information, within Canada, call the Border Information Service at 1-800-461-9999. From outside Canada, call 204-983-3500 or 506-636-5064. Long distance charges will apply. Agents are available Monday to Friday (08:00 – 16:00 local time / except holidays). TTY is also available within Canada at 1-866-335-3237.

Emerging Economies Make Their Presence Felt

(International Freighting Weekly – Kizzi Nkwocha)

Shift in global economic power could impact supply chains

The rapid growth of emerging economies may lead to a long-term shift in global economic power – and that could affect how freight flows around the world, according to a new report.

Perspectives on Global Development: Shifting Wealth, published by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), says the aggregate economic weight of developing and emerging economies should surpass that of the countries that currently make up the advanced world (the U.S., Europe, etc) within the next two decades.

The study says developing countries share of the world’s total economic power has risen from 40% of in 2000 to 49% today – and will be 57% by 2030. The OECD says that, due to their rapid growth and sheer size, India and China will remain the key influencers of macroeconomic variables that matter for poor countries – interest rates, the price of raw materials and wage levels for low-skill jobs – and will continue to have major impacts on global trading and investment patterns. Read more here.

DOT Removes Cargo Insurance Requirement for Most Motor Carriers, Freight Forwarders

(World Trade Interactive)

The Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a final rule that, effective March 21, 2011, will eliminate the requirement for most for-hire motor common carriers of property and freight forwarders to maintain cargo insurance in prescribed minimum amounts and file evidence of this insurance with FMCSA. Household goods motor carriers and household goods freight forwarders will continue to be subject to the cargo insurance requirement.

FMCSA states that all BMC-32 endorsements and BMC-34 certificates of insurance that insurers have issued to motor carriers and freight forwarders, except household goods motor carriers and household goods freight forwarders, will expire March 21, 2011. However, insurance companies will not need to cancel any previous FMCSA filings. In addition, FMCSA will not remove the names of insurance companies and the appropriate policy numbers from its Web sites and any other FMCSA distribution methods until March 18, 2013, to facilitate the identification of insurance coverage for claims arising from transportation occurring while the policies were in effect.

U.S. Airlines Warn of New Rules, Fees for Unscreened Freight

(DC Velocity – Mark B. Solomon)

Shippers using the nation’s air network after August 1, the deadline for screening all U.S. cargo moving in the bellies of passenger planes, should be prepared to tender their domestic freight much earlier than usual if they expect airlines to screen and inspect the goods prior to loading, according to industry experts.

Dave Brooks, president of American Airlines’ Cargo Division, said the airline will require customers to tender their freight six hours before the aircraft’s scheduled departure if they expect American to screen the goods and still meet the customers’ delivery commitments. American’s current cutoff time is four hours before departure, Brooks said. In addition, American will double its fees after August 1 for screening cargo before it is loaded, Brooks said. […]

By law, all domestic cargo shipped in the below-deck compartments of passenger planes as of August 1 must be certified as having been screened or inspected at some point in the supply chain before it can be loaded aboard the aircraft. In an effort to push the screening responsibility upstream, Congress created the Certified Cargo Screening Program (CCSP), a voluntary initiative that authorizes shippers and freight forwarders to screen and inspect cargo before it reaches the airline. Read more here.

Order Amending the Export Control List

(CIFFA eBulletin)

The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) seeks to amend the Export Control List (ECL), specifically item 5505 Goods and Technology for Certain Uses. Full details can be accessed through the Canada Gazette.

Inflation Eases but Rate Hike Still Expected

(Reuters – Louise Egan)

Inflation is not a big threat in Canada right now despite red-hot economic growth, a report showed on Tuesday, but most still expect the central bank to continue raising interest rates next month. A slower pace of gasoline price increases helped the annual inflation rate ease to 1.4% in May from 1.8% in April, Statistics Canada said on Tuesday.

The core rate of inflation, which excludes volatile items like gasoline and is the Bank of Canada’s most trusted gauge of underlying price trends, came in at 1.8% versus 1.9% the previous month. This was just above the 1.7% forecast for May.

“There was really no major surprise here, even though the headline monthly increase looks somewhat on the high side,” said Doug Porter, deputy chief economist with BMO Capital Markets. “The report was quite benign. Overall the main message is that Canadian inflation is really going nowhere fast,” he said.

Read more here. Summary statistics and links to the data files are on the Statistics Canada website at the Statistics Canada website.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Starting Import Venture on the Right Path

(Cyndia Zwahlen — LA Times)

The owner of Parker Lighting in Inglewood has started a business selling energy-efficient bulbs from China. But bringing them over efficiently and profitably is vital. An expert offers advice.

It’s not easy for a small lighting company almost a half-century old to suddenly jump into the potentially treacherous waters of international trade.

But that’s just what Louis Hirsch, owner of Parker Lighting Inc. in Inglewood, has decided to do with his four-person business founded in 1965. It’s been a chilly swim so far.

The retailer has long sold fluorescent and high-intensity lighting for parking lots and offices, as well as specialty bulbs for industrial customers and others. But in recent months, he has been exploring the use of an energy-efficient bulb from China that he thinks will save his commercial customers money and provide a boost for his business. Read more here.

BMO Capital Markets Named Best Trade Bank in Canada


BMO Capital Markets, the investment and corporate banking arm of BMO Financial has been named the Best Trade Bank in Canada by Trade Finance magazine

BMO’s accomplishment will be highlighted in the July edition of Trade Finance.

"Congratulations to BMO for being recognized as a leading provider of trade finance especially in uncertain economic times," said Oliver O’Connell, Editor, Trade Finance magazine. "What voters are saying is that BMO has in-depth knowledge of global markets and is dedicated to providing the right advice and solutions to companies looking to expand their international trade networks."

The annual survey encompasses industry votes and feedback from Canadian participants, as well as input from the magazine’s editorial team. Manufacturers, exporters, importers, traders, government, multilateral agencies, and other clients and industry partners selected BMO as the No. 1 Canadian bank to help businesses conduct global trade in a fast-changing regulatory environment. Read more here.

United States Infrastructure Report Q2 2010

(Business Monitor International)

News in the U.S. infrastructure sector over the past quarter has been dominated by public sector support for projects. In the transport sector the US$8bn high speed rail funding was allocated, and in the utilities sector, the Department of Energy handed out billions of dollars worth of loan guarantees. In contrast, the private sector has been fairly muted.

In BMI’s Q210 US Infrastructure Report we are forecasting growth to return to the construction sector following five years of decline. In 2010, we are forecasting the construction industry to grow by 2.4% year-on-year (y-o-y) in real terms, to reach a nominal value of US$519.6bn. This growth is notable; however, it must be taken into context of the 13.2% decline estimated for 2009. Growth will mainly be fuelled by the disbursement of funds from the US$787bn American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Read more here. Download a free sample here.

Transpacific Rates Hit Five-Year High

(International Freighting Weekly – Damian Brett)

Spot prices for transpacific shipping services have grown by more than 180% during the past 12 months to reach a five-year high. Experts describe the increase as a “mini container shipping boom”.

Shipping consultant Drewry’s Hong Kong-Los Angeles container rate benchmark hit US$2,607 per 40ft container last week – 19% higher than the previous week and 182% higher than the same week in 2009.

But Drewry pointed out that the trade had been suffering with “serious overcapacity and price discounting” in 2009. It added that the jump in transpacific container rates reflected new peak season surcharges, very tight eastbound transpacific ship capacity and a shortage of boxes, which is becoming an issue in China as well as in the U.S. Read more here.

Companies Redefining Supply Chain Officer Role

(Supply Chain Digital)

SCM World has released its 2010 Chief Supply Chain Officer Report which revealed how companies are redefining the role of the supply chain officer. The report, designed and developed to draw out critical insights that drive C-level supply chain executives in 2010, surveyed 400 senior global supply chain and procurement executives.

It uncovered how companies are redefining the role of the Supply Chain Officer in the rapidly shifting macro economic climate. In turn, the report reveals how executives are positioning their organizations to remain competitive in an increasingly globalized and complex operating environment.

One of the report’s key findings revealed that 49% of respondents will increase investment in supply chain related technology this year. The study also found that Best-in-Class firms are 50% more likely to have an executive position with end-to-end SCM responsibility. Read more here.

New Bill Would Bar U.S. Federal Procurement of Chinese Goods Until China Joins GPA

(World Trade Interactive)

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., introduced June 17 the China Fair Trade Act of 2010 (S.3505), which would prohibit the federal government from purchasing goods and services from China until Beijing joins the World Trade Organization’s Government Procurement Agreement. The U.S. has been urging China to join the GPA since it became a WTO member in 2001, and at the most recent Strategic and Economic Dialogue meeting Chinese authorities said they would submit a revised accession offer by July.

A fact sheet from Stabenow’s office states that because the U.S. is a GPA member China has access to the estimated $1.7 trillion U.S. government procurement market, where it is able to sell products such as tires and office equipment. In contrast, China has developed an indigenous innovation program that “essentially prevents American companies from bidding on Chinese government contracts” and thus excludes them from a market worth nearly $500 billion. According to Stabenow, the U.S. will not be able to reach its goal of doubling U.S. exports over the next five years until China opens its procurement market by joining the GPA. Read more here.

Senators Question FMC on Container Shortage

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

Letter from agriculture committee says lawmakers seek ways to boost exports

Leaders of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee this week joined the chorus of lawmakers and shippers asking what can be done about equipment shortages and vessel capacity that are hindering the export of agricultural products.

In a letter to Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Richard A. Lidinsky Jr. on Wednesday, Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., and Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., the committee’s senior Republican, said that agricultural exporters may be forced to wait a month to book cargo on a ship, and in parts of the country, they are unable to obtain containers. Read more here.

Related: Container shortage increases costs and slows trade (Transport Intelligence)

USDA Removes Temporary Restrictions on Cattle and Bison Imports from British Columbia


The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has removed temporary brucellosis testing requirements for certain cattle and bison from British Columbia, according to a June 17 statement from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Sexually intact cattle and bison that have resided in B.C. since March 25, 2010, are no longer required to test negative for brucellosis prior to export to the U.S.

The restrictions were put in place after three beef cows originating from two farms in British Columbia, a western province in Canada, were suspected of having brucellosis, based on tests done by the USDA during routine slaughter testing. A subsequent and thorough investigation by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) did not identify the presence of brucellosis in the animals or on the two farms. All cattle herds in Canada remain officially free of brucellosis, according to the CFIA statement.

WTO Rules Against U.S. Ban on Chinese Poultry Products


China has won an interim ruling over the U.S. ban on Chinese poultry exports from World Trade Organisation, which ruled the American curbs on Chinese poultry were violating international trade laws, the China Daily reported [June 17].

The report said that the U.S. ban violated the WTO's Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures that govern food safety measures in global trade, regulations on most-favoured-nation treatment and general elimination of quantitative restrictions under the WTO framework.

According to the report this was the first time that China had challenged U.S. laws.

It quoted a Chinese commerce ministry official as saying, that the U.S. was unlikely to attempt a similar ban next fiscal year, “for it will be regarded as open defiance of the latest WTO ruling.”

China Pre-empts Critics with Currency Pledge

(Globe & Mail)

Surprise vow to let yuan gradually rise designed to ease increasing pressure from world leaders ahead of G20 summit

China has moved to fend off a barrage of expected criticism against its economic policies from world leaders at this week’s G20 summit in Toronto by issuing a surprise pledge to let its currency gradually rise against the U.S. dollar.

However, despite the promise, the yuan opened Monday at exactly the same rate that it has spent every day since July, 2008, at about 6.83 to the U.S. dollar. The People’s Bank of China said on its website Sunday that despite the new policy, the value of the yuan would remain “basically stable.”

Markets in Japan and South Korea, however, were up in early trading, reflecting the optimism felt by foreign manufacturers who saw the yuan’s artificially low value as giving Chinese exporters an unfair advantage.

The unexpected promise on the weekend from China’s central bank to allow for a gradual increase in the value of the yuan will serve to defuse mounting political tensions over China’s long-standing policy of keeping its currency artificially low to boost the economic performance of its key export sector. Read more here.

Yuan appreciation not guaranteed (Financial Post)
China Unshackles Yuan Ahead of G20 (Reuters)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

US Anti-China Rhetoric at Danger Level

(Benjamin Shobert — Asia Times)

The US-China Congressional Committee (USCC) this month held its most recent hearing on US-China relations, specifically on “China’s Past and Future Role in the World Trade Organization” (WTO). As Commissioner Patrick Mulloy stated at the opening, “The purpose of today’s hearing is not to second guess what Congress did 10 years ago. Its purpose is to look at the arguments made in favor of China’s WTO entry by proponents and to consider the results.”

Considering the political environment in Washington, where recent days have been marked by the most serious bi-partisan efforts of the past decade to introduce legislation that would impose new trade barriers on Chinese-made goods, and increase pressure for an upward revaluation of the yuan against the US dollar, Mulloy’s comments are particularly meaningful. Read more here.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Weekly Scope: Technical Bulletins from GHY at a Glance

An updated list of recently published government memorandums, notices, regulations and decisions for the week ending June 18, 2010 is now available on our website here.

Canadian Economy Powering Ahead, Latest Data Show

(Reuters – David Ljunggren)

Canada’s composite leading indicator, a broad measure of how the economy is performing, rose for a 12th consecutive month in May in another sign of how well the country is recovering from the global financial crisis.

The indicator advanced by 0.9% from April, Statistics Canada said on Friday, a larger move than the 0.7% increase expected by market operators.

Read more here. Leading Indicators table and a link to the data file are on the Statistics Canada website.

Manufacturing Sales on Steady Incline

(Canadian MetalWorking)

Sales rise in eight of past ten months pointing to stronger rebound

While the numbers are still weak, manufacturing sales are continuing in a slow, upward trend with sales rising in eight of the past ten months, according to the latest data from Statistics Canada. Manufacturing sales advanced 0.2% in April to $44.5 billion. Sales increased in primary metal and petroleum and coal product manufacturers although the numbers were offset by a surprising decline in the food industry.

Al Diggins, president and general manager of Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium (EMC), which represents more than 900 manufacturers across Ontario and Eastern Canada, says the numbers don’t lie. His members are indeed experiencing growth. “The recession took a lot of good manufacturers out but I’ve been talking to a lot of our members and what we’ve seen is that during the recession these manufacturers were cautiously optimistic but I think they’ve moved from that to optimistic.” Read more here.

Pilot Project on Food Traceability Proves Successful

(Food in Canada)

17 participants in an Ontario-based pilot project meet all the criteria

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has deemed a pilot project on facility level traceability a highly successful endeavour. The Food Safety Initiative (FSI) – Traceability Pilot Project, which included 20 small to medium size operations, began in June 2007. The Agriculture Policy Framework, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative, provided the funding.

The aim of the pilot project, says OMAFRA, was to:

• Demonstrate implementation of facility level traceability in a variety of agri-food operations across the province (one-step-forward, one-step-back traceability);

• Increase the provincial agri-food industry’s understanding and adoption of traceability;

• Collect data on the operational and economic costs and benefits of facility level traceability; and

• Use learnings to develop educational materials on facility level traceability and provide training opportunities to stakeholders .

The 20 operations included nine on-farm operations (from cattle to greenhouse vegetables) and 11 food-processing operations (from cheese manufacturing and meat processing to wineries). The pilot facilities did also receive some help. OMAFRA says they received 75 per cent of eligible costs up to a maximum of $20,000. Read more here.

Regulatory Amendment to Require Non-Medicinal Ingredient Labelling for Drugs in Canada

(Lexology – Penny Bonner et al., Ogilvy Renault LLP)

Canada has amended its Food and Drug Regulations to require non-medicinal ingredients (“NMIs”) to be included on the outer label of non-prescription drug products marketed in Canada.

The costs and administrative burden will be significant to both the pharmaceutical industry as well as the personal care product industry.

The NMI labelling requirement will be in force as of May 12, 2012.

U.S. Healthcare Pressured on Supply Chain Costs

(AirCargo World)

For the third year in a row, managing costs tops the list of healthcare companies’ supply chain concerns, according to a new survey by UPS.

Sixty-four percent of respondents report being “very” or “extremely concerned” with managing supply chain costs, up from 55% in 2009. At the same time, only 44% of companies report success in addressing cost management.

Of the senior supply chain executives surveyed, a third said reform would either open up new markets or create new customers. But 20% doubted the ability of their companies “to afford to operate” in the future; 26% said reform would hamper their research and development programs, and another 22% said their firms did not have the infrastructure needed to compete. Read more here.

FDA Information Collection on Safe Import Procedures for Fish Products

(World Trade Interactive)

The Food and Drug Administration is requesting public comments by July 19 on the proposed extension of an information collection concerning procedures for the safe and sanitary processing and importing of fish and fishery products.

FDA regulations mandate the application of hazard analysis and critical control point principles to the processing of seafood and require that processors and importers of seafood collect and record information. The HACCP records compiled and maintained by a seafood processor primarily consist of the periodic observations recorded at selected monitoring points during processing and packaging operations. HACCP records are normally reviewed by appropriately trained employees at the end of a production lot or at the end of a day or week of production to verify that control limits have been maintained or that appropriate corrective actions were taken if the critical limits were not maintained.

A review of these records during the conduct of periodic plant inspections permits FDA to determine whether the products have been consistently processed in conformance with appropriate HACCP food safety controls. Article and link to source document here.

What Crisis? The Euro Zone Adds Estonia

(New York Times – James Kanter)

Guess what? The funniest thing happened in Europe on Thursday. A new country joined (yes, joined) the euro zone. And the mood here was upbeat.

With a debt crisis that appears to be spreading from Greece to Spain, membership for the country, Estonia, might seem more curse than blessing. There had been speculation that countries might abandon the single currency. And some doubt Estonia is even ready for the move.

“Maintaining low inflation rates in Estonia will be very challenging,” the European Central Bank warned last month.

Still, the euro remains among the strongest currencies in the world, and membership opens the door to a club with global influence. For small and unsure countries on the fringes of the European Union, it doesn’t get much better – no matter the mounting downsides for countries already on the inside.

“Joining the euro is a status issue for countries seeking to cement their position at Europe’s top table,” said Simon Tilford, the chief economist for the Center for European Reform, a research organization based in London. “But you also could call it sheer bloody-mindedness of Estonia to join now with the outlook for the currency so uncertain.” Read more here

Confectioners Give Cautious Backing to EU Labelling Vote

( – Jane Byrne)

Representatives of Europe wide confectionery, biscuit and chocolate makers have given a cautious backing to the much-anticipated EU parliament vote on amendments to the proposed food information regulation, which has come out in favour of industry supported GDAs.

David Zimmer, secretary general of Caobisco, in a statement issued to, said that while the body is closely reviewing the details of the vote and its implications for its members he said that it is encouraging that the EP has recognised the limitations of the traffic lights approach to labelling.

Ever since the proposal for the new regulation was published in January 2008 there has been hot debate in Brussels and across member states about the best mandatory system for displaying nutritional information.

Although a host of formats already exist across the bloc, two have dominated discussions: the food industry-developed Guidance Daily Amount (GDA) scheme, and the colour-coded traffic-light scheme. Read more here.

Related: What ‘Natural’ Means in Food Regulations

‘Doha Round’s Success Depends on India, China’

(Press Trust of India – Lalit K Jha)

Alleging that some key global players were acting as a roadblock in international trade negotiations, a top U.S. trade official said on Wednesday that the success or failure of the Doha Round depends on countries like India, China and Brazil.

“Today, the key roadblock is the continued resistance of some important partners to engage in sustained, meaningful negotiations,” said U.S. Deputy Trade Representative Demetrois Marantis during his speech at the 25th annual World Trade Day in Rhode Island. “The success or failure of the Doha Round depends on whether advanced developing countries like China, India and Brazil accept the responsibility that comes along with their growing roles in the global economy,” he said.

The Obama administration is gearing up to host the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in 2011

Friday, June 18, 2010

Must Shift Trade Focus, Carney Says

(The Canadian Press/Globe & Mail)

Bank of Canada Governor says emerging economies are key drivers of global economic recovery

Canada must shift its trade focus towards emerging economies, which account for two-thirds of global growth and are key drivers of the worldwide economic recovery, says Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney.

Canada's central bank head said Friday that countries such as China, India and Brazil are becoming growing centres of economic power and have a big impact on the price of oil, metals and other commodities, drivers of Canada's resources economy.

“The relatively slow recovery expected in our most important trading partner, along with ongoing sectoral adjustments, means that Canadian firms have to find new markets,” Mr. Carney said in a prepared speech Friday to a Newfoundland energy conference.

Read more here. Full text of Carney’s speech here (via Reuters).

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Trade Tensions With China Shadow G-20 Meeting

(New York Times – Sewell Chan)

Anger toward China’s currency, trade and industrial policies has been steadily mounting in Congress, adding pressure on President Obama to take a tough stance with his Chinese counterparts at the Group of 20 leaders’ meeting next week in Toronto.

On Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Committee heard from business leaders alarmed about an initiative under which Chinese government agencies would procure high-tech products – including telecommunications, software and energy-saving equipment – only from companies that use technologies developed in China.

Last week, several software executives, including Microsoft’s chief executive, Steven A. Ballmer, visited Washington to complain about technological piracy by Chinese companies. And on Tuesday and Wednesday, the United States International Trade Commission, a federal agency that investigates trade matters, held hearings on enforcement of patents and other forms of intellectual property rights in China.

The mounting tensions could spill over into new retaliatory import duties or other trade barriers, at a time when the United States has several unresolved cases against China before the World Trade Organization, which China joined in 2001. They also reflect growing skepticism about the feasibility of the Obama administration’s stated goal of doubling American exports in five years. Read more here.

Related: China Warns Finger-Pointing Could Derail G20 (Reuters)

Canada-Colombia FTA Almost Finalised, Putting Pressure on U.S.

(Bridges Weekly)

Canada and Colombia came one step closer to finalising a free trade agreement (FTA) this week, with the Canadian House of Commons voting in favour of the deal. The FTA will next be viewed by the Canadian Senate for final approval. The FTA passed with an amendment that requires both the Canadian and Colombian governments to assess the accord’s effects on human rights on an annual basis. However, whether this clause will actually be effective has been the source of heated debate.

Colombia is Canada’s fourth-largest trading partner in South America, with trade between the two countries amounting to US$1,260 million in 2008, according to BusinessWeek. Liberal MP Scott Brison was quoted in Canadian newspaper The Globe & Mail as praising the FTA, saying that its ratification would “give us a head start, and Canadian interests an advantage.” Brison had proposed the human rights amendment that was added to the FTA in March.

Canada’s passage of this deal is likely to put additional pressure on the U.S. to pass its own FTA with Colombia. The US signed an agreement with Colombia in 2006, but the FTA has been stalled in the US Congress ever since. Read more here.

Canadian Standards Recognized Internationally

(Food in Canada)

The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) has announced that the On-Farm Food Safety Program (OFFS) known as the CanadaGAP (Good Agricultural Practices) program has been successfully benchmarked against GFSI’s requirements.

CanadaGAP, which is administered and maintained by the Canadian Horticultural Council, is geared to fresh fruit and vegetable producers and packers. The program consists of national food safety standards and a certification system for the safe production, storage and packing of fresh fruits and vegetables.

It’s been recognized by GFSI for certification options B and C and the recognition covers the common food safety requirements that run through the six different commodity specific modules. This benchmarking process has been completed using an internationally accepted set of food safety requirements, based on industry best practice and sound science, which are developed through a consensus building process by key stakeholders in the food supply chain. These requirements can be found in the GFSI Guidance Document Version 5. Read more here.

Domestic Strength Boosts Trade Confidence

(Export Development Canada – Peter G. Hall)

Trade confidence is up?
It hardly seems possible. Earlier this year, maybe, when a bevy of strong economic reports set the world abuzz with recovery-talk. But now, with heightened concern about Southern Europe’s public finances, worries about China’s performance, new cracks appearing in US demand, tumbling commodity prices and a stubbornly strong Canadian dollar? In this context, a rise in Canadian trade confidence seems out of place. Why the increase?

Recent moves in EDCs Trade Confidence Index (TCI) have been nothing if not dramatic. A sharp tumble that began in the fall of 2007 sent the TCI downward to a reading of 61 a year later, its lowest level ever. The move foreshadowed the drubbing that was in store for exporters in 2009. But then a sturdy rebound lifted the TCI up to 77.4 by the fall of 2009, one of the highest readings on record.

From that position of strength, the TCI climbed even further in the Spring 2010 survey. Conducted in late April and early May, the survey pushed the TCI up to 78.8, its best result since the spring of 2002. Given the concurrent onset of global turbulence, the result appears behind the times – until the Index components are examined. True to unfolding external conditions, the Index got no help from its international elements. Exporters’ perceptions of both world economic conditions and global business opportunities faded in the Spring survey, and expectations for near-term export sales were flat. Read more here

Trucking’s Carbon Footprint Goes Beyond On-Road Vehicles

(Trucking Info)

A trucking company’s carbon footprint goes beyond its on-road vehicle fleet to include other direct emissions, indirect emissions and the optional “life-cycle” emissions, according to the American Transportation Research Institute.

ATRI released the findings of its analysis of greenhouse gas reporting tools and emissions models, with the goal of helping carriers quantify potential sources of greenhouse gases within their operations.

“ATRI’s study also highlights the need for industry involvement in standardizing approaches for carbon accounting,” said Mike Naatz, president of the customer care division and chief customer officer for YRC Worldwide. Naatz is a member of the ATRI Research Advisory Committee, which identified this research priority.

ATRI’s research identified both U.S. and international reporting tools and methodologies. Among the key findings were differences in the weighting of model inputs, which in turn impact the reported level of emissions. Read more here.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Negotiations Underway

(CIFFA eBulletin)

The Minister of International Trade, met on Tuesday with Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada to discuss the free trade negotiations between Canada and Ukraine. The first round of negotiations took place in Kyiv from May 17 to 21. They discussed issues of mutual interest, such as trade in agriculture and energy, and the Canada-Ukraine Business Forum that took place in Edmonton from June 10 to 14. They also welcomed the progress made toward a free trade agreement.

Ukraine is one of the largest countries in Europe, and home to a highly educated population of 46 million, a diversified industrial base and substantial natural resources. A free trade agreement with Ukraine could further open markets for Canadian exports, ranging from agricultural and seafood products to machinery and pharmaceuticals. An agreement could also help to address non-tariff barriers. The next round of negotiations is expected to take place in the fall.

OECD Statistics on International Trade in Services 2009, Volume II, Detailed Tables by Partner Country


This CD-ROM provides statistics on international trade in services by partner country for 28 OECD countries* plus the European Union (EU25 and EU27), Euro Area, Hong Kong (SAR China), and the Russian Federation as well as definitions and methodological notes. The data concern trade between residents and non-residents of countries and are reported within the framework of the Manual on Statistics of International Trade in Services. Data are also broken down by type of service according to the EBOPS classification. Series are shown in US dollars and cover the period 1999-2007.

The database uses Beyond 20/20™, a user-friendly Windows™-based software that allows the user to extract data and build customised tools for analysis such as graphs and tables. Technical documentation on the software and the statistics is included in Acrobat™ format.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Procedural Changes for Shipments Detained for Product Safety Violations

(World Trade Interactive)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has announced that effective June 14 the Consumer Product Safety Commission is implementing the use of its detention authority under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. As a result, unless there is a customs violation, CBP will no longer detain CPSC-regulated products under 19 USC 1499; instead, CPSC will detain under its own authority and CBP will act as custodian of the merchandise.

Notices of detention will be issued by CPSC to the importer with copies to CBP and the customs broker. These notices will provide a description of the suspected violation, a citation of the statute governing the suspected violation and contact information for the CPSC officer. All concerns related to a CPSC detention should be addressed to the CPSC contact and not to CBP. However, if a shipment is detained under both CBP and CPSC authority, detention notices will be issued by both agencies and resolution will need to be sought with both to obtain release of the shipment.

Health Canada Considers Changes to Precautionary Labelling of Priority Allergens

(Lexology – Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP)

Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are considering four potential policy options to update their position on precautionary labelling of priority allergens. Precautionary labelling allows manufactures to alert consumers that priority allergens may be in a food product, even where these allergens have not been intentionally added as an ingredient.

Currently, precautionary labelling is done on a voluntary basis. The four potential policy options are: an “enhanced voluntary” approach; an “enhanced voluntary approach with consumer notification;” a “mixed voluntary and regulatory approach; and a “regulatory” approach. Read more here.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Truckers Say Market’s Wrong, Economy Grows

( – Daniel Fisher)

A little-noticed indicator that taps directly into the movement of freight offers a hopeful contrast to the dismal performance of the stock market lately. The Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index jumped 3.1% in May, the largest monthly increase since February 1999. The index tracks credit-card purchases of diesel fuel at truckstops across the country and provides a real-time indication of how much freight is moving from ports and factories to consumers.

The jump in the PCI index joins positive signals from other indexes including manufacturing, manufacturing shipments and retail sales, all of which have been rising steadily from mid-2009 lows.

The only indices that remain stubbornly low are employment and retail inventories. Even those are arguably good signs for future profits, as manufacturers and retailers tuck in extra earnings for at least a while before adding employees and inventory to their overhead.

Stock markets have been forecasting an entirely different scenario lately, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index falling 16% since April. Economist Edward Leamer of UCLA says the stock market’s got it wrong. “The market is still dealing with the fear effects of 2008 – investors are worried it will happen again,” says Leamer. “This is actual transactions. This is truckers buying fuel.” Read more here.

Related: More Evidence of Booming U.S. Demand: Traffic at LA Ports Surged in May (Business Insider)

U.S. Trucking Concerned by Wal-Mart Shipping Policy

(Handy Shipping Guide)

Reports in the press this week indicate that the giant Wal-mart chain may be changing its policy with regard to deliveries from its hundreds of suppliers. It is quite common for large corporations to switch transport and warehousing strategies every few years, often following management changes. After a review companies which handle their own logistics often conclude that a specialist supply chain company would be more cost effective and palm off property and staff in an effort to reduce costs. A few years later someone concludes that the subcontractor is growing fat on the proceeds and an ‘in house’ operation would raise extra revenue, and so the cycle continues.

The Wal-mart scenario, whilst not precisely like this, bears the same hallmarks in that with almost 7,000 trucks the marketing giant has doubtless found itself with spare transport capacity during the downturn and has taken the view that by utilising their own vehicles for collections from suppliers they will get a free ride. This effectively means goods purchased by Wal-mart will switch from a free delivered basis to ex works or subcontractors will simply get less business from the company. Read more here.

Carriers Eye Equipment Surcharge

(International Freighting Weekly – Mike King)

Box shortage sparks move towards repositioning fee

With a shortage of available containers in Asia, at least two leading carriers are understood by IFW to be attempting to introduce equipment repositioning surcharges. Shippers are already facing substantial peak season surcharges as capacity tightens on both the Asia-Europe and transpacific trades.

Joerg Twachtmann, Panalpina’s Global Head of Product & Procurement Ocean FCL, said: “There are shortages everywhere, especially in northern China, of 20ft boxes. With slow-steaming, there are more containers on the water on both main trades. “Carriers also stopped investing in boxes in 2009, and all this will continue to impact the flow of cargo. It also helps the carriers control supply.” He said capacity on Asia-Europe lanes was not as tight as on the “chock-a-block” transpacific, but both trades were suffering equipment bottlenecks. Read more here.

CFIA: Importation of Fresh Tomatoes


Effective June 28, 2010, shipments of tomato fruit from Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic and Turkey will be required to be accompanied by a Phytosanitary Certificate with an additional declaration stating: “This consignment originated from a place where Tuta absoluta is known not to occur and was inspected and found free of Tuta absoluta”.

Shipments not meeting this requirement will be refused entry to Canada. The phytosanitary import requirement for tomatoes and the complete list of regulated countries are available in the directive D-10-01-01.

For all questions relating to these changes please contact:

Johanne Coulombe
Import Control and Enforcement Officer
Import control and Export Market information
Telephone: (613) 221-4331 Fax: (613) 228-6605

Import/Export Documentation Changes for Plants and Animals as of June 23

(World Trade Interactive)

The Fish and Wildlife Service has posted to its Web site a notice stating that the import and export documentation requirements for numerous species of animals and plants will be revised as of June 23. Imports, exports or re-exports of shipments of these species that are accompanied by CITES documents reflecting a pre-June 23 listing status or that lack CITES documents because no listing was previously in effect must be completed by midnight (local time at the point of import/export) on June 22.

These changes are being made pursuant to decisions taken at the March 13-15 meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. These decisions include additions to and removals from CITES Appendices I and II, which list species in which international trade is prohibited (Appendix I) or restricted (Appendix II) in order to protect endangered populations. Read more here.

Canada on the Hunt for Trade

(Tom Ford — Winnipeg Free Press)

When they were in the backyard garden of 10 Downing Street in London this month, British Prime Minister David Cameron told Prime Minister Stephen Harper something of significance, but which did not get much publicity. Cameron endorsed a proposed Canada-European Union trade agreement.

Canada wants Britain’s backing on our trade negotiations with the EU because we desperately need more places in which to sell our goods and services. As my sainted mother used to say: “You’ll have a big problem if you have too many eggs in one basket.”

At present, Canada has two major baskets: our domestic market and the United States, far and away our biggest export market. The Canadian market is frisky right now, but economists see it slowing late this year or early next. America is still having problems climbing out of the hole its grasping bankers pitched it in 2008.

Many Canadians don’t know about our trade initiative with the EU. But it’s “the most ambitious trade agreement we’ve ever had,” federal Trade Minister Peter Van Loan says. About 60 Canadian officials have been huddled in talks with their European counterparts in Ottawa’s former city hall, beside the Rideau River. Read more here.