Trade Clippings November 2020

  • December 03, 2020

Dear Members of the CBA International Law Section,
Here are some international trade articles and publications of interest for the month of November 2020.This month’s edition has been prepared by Susana May Yon Lee. Susana is the Communication Officer of the Section Executive and an International Trade Lawyer at Cassidy Levy Kent (Canada) LLP.


No text of Canada-U.K. trade deal, minister says as Dec. 31 tariff deadline looms CTV News, Mike Blanchfield (November 30, 2020)

As of November 30, 2020, Canada’s International Trade Minister, Mary Ng, could not provide a guarantee that Members of Parliament would see a bill to ratify the new provisional Canada-Britain trade agreement before December 11, 2020, when Parliament breaks for the holidays.

While officials in both countries are still working on the final text of the agreement, questions have arisen as to how a delay will impact trade between Canada and the United Kingdom if the deal isn’t finalized by the December 31 deadline.

Canada blocks bulk exports of some prescription drugs in response to Trump import plan Thomson Reuters (November 28, 2020)

On November 28, 2020, Canada blocked bulk exports of prescription drugs that create a shortage at home. This action was taken in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s efforts to permit imports from Canada in order to lower drug prices for Americans.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau indicated in September that his priority was protecting the needs of Canadians, but his government will help other countries with pharmaceutical supplies if it’s possible to do so.

Commons considers Bloc bill to end dairy concessions in trade deals CBC News, Janyce McGregor (November 24, 2020)

Members of Parliament start debate on Louis Plamondon's private member's bill, Bill C-216, on Tuesday, November 24, 2020.

Bill C-216’s objective is to amend the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act to state that the minister "must not make any commitment ... by future trade treaty or agreement" to increase the tariff rate quota (TRQ) on dairy products, poultry or eggs, or reduce the tariff on those goods when they are imported in excess of that quota.

The Members of Parliament will vote on the bill at second reading after debate, which is expected later in the winter.

Canada, U.K. strike transitional post-Brexit trade deal CBC News, Janyce McGregor (November 21, 2020)

On November 21, 2020, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that Canada and the United Kingdom have reached an interim post-Brexit trade agreement.

This interim agreement, the Canada-United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement, eliminates tariffs on 98% of goods exported between the United Kingdom and Canada.

The interim agreement also sets the stage for negotiations on a permanent and more ambitious deal in 2021, which may include fields such as digital trade, the environment and women’s economic empowerment.

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement continues to apply for trade between Canada and the U.K. until December 31, 2020, even following the U.K.’s exit from the European Union last winter.

Reduced inspection frequencies for meat imported from Australia and New Zealand Canadian Society of Customs Brokers (November 2, 2020)

The imported meat shipped from Australia and New Zealand will be inspected less frequently, at a rate of only 10%, starting November 4, 2020 by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) given good compliance rates for meat imported into Canada.

Importers and brokers of meat and meat products from these two countries can use the CFIA Automated Shipment Inspection Status Search Tool to determine if a particular shipment of meat must be inspected by CFIA.

Press Releases

WTO report shows slowdown in G20 trade restrictions as COVID-19 impacts world economy World Trade Organization (November 18, 2020)

Due to the sharp decline in overall global trade as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, the WTO’s latest Trade Monitoring Report on G20 trade measures shows a slowdown in the number and scope of trade-restrictive measures on goods for the period between mid-May and mid-October 2020.

Instead, there appears to be an increase in the number of trade-facilitating and support measures in G20 economies in response to the economic downturn to prepare for a strong economic recovery.

Canada’s state of trade 2020, the early impacts of COVID-19 on trade Government of Canada, Global Affairs 
The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade presented the Canada’s State of Trade 2020 report of behalf of the Government of Canada.

The goal of the report is to provide Canadians with a snapshot of economic activities in 2019 and also recognizes the unprecedented global uncertainty as a result of the pandemic.

Canada’s 2019 performance was marked by growth, despite uncertain world economic conditions.
Due to COVID-19, overall Canadian goods exported dropped by 7.9% and imports by 8.4% by March 2020.

WTO launches new edition of Handbook on the TRIPS agreement World Trade Organization (November 27, 2020)

On November 27, 2020, the WTO launched the new edition of the Handbook on the Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement, 25 years after the TRIPS Agreement came into force.

This edition describes the historical and legal background to the TRIPS agreement, along with the role that TRIPS plays in the organization and its institutional framework.

The TRIPS Handbook is the latest in a series of WTO handbooks published with the objective of providing a non-technical overview of key elements of the WTO system.

The WCO has published the HS 2022 correlation tables for the harmonized system World Customs Organization, November 13, 2020

On November 13, 2020, the World Customs Organization (WCO) announced the release of the HS 2022 Correlation Tables.

The WCO’s Harmonized System Committee (HSC) completed an examination of the correlations prepared by the Secretariat at its 66th Session in October 2020.

Although the Correlation Tables are not legal instructions, they have been widely used by the trade community to prepare for the new edition of the Harmonized System, which will come into force on January 1, 2020.

Canadian international merchandise trade, September 2020 Statistics Canada (Released: November 4, 2020)

Based on Statistics Canada, Canada’s merchandise exports rose by 1.5% in September 2020, which were led by higher exports of lumber and aircraft, while imports were also up 1.5% due largely to crude oil imports.

Canada’s trade deficit compared to the world increased from $3.2 billion to $3.3 billion between August and September 2020.

CFIA’S updated compliance and enforcement policy Canadian Food Inspection Agency (November 1, 2020)

On November 1, 2020, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) updated its Compliance and Enforcement Policy.

The main purpose of the policy is to adopt a strategic, consistent, fair and transparent compliance and enforcement approach which allows the CFIA to deliver its mandate effectively.

The policy has been revised to include changes such as the coming into force of the Safe Goods for Canadians Regulations and changes to the Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs).

Opinions and Editorials

What to expect on the trade file from a Biden administration CBC News, Janyce McGregor (November 9, 2020)

“Politicians come and go, but powerful trade lobbies and the strategic need to constrain China remain” 

“The reason people elected [Biden] had nothing to do with Canada," van Vugt said. "If you can imagine the briefing binders that sit on a president-elect's desk … your desk would break under the weight of those binders. The Canadian one is probably not the biggest binder on that desk." said Former Harper adviser Andrea van Vugt

"The whole world has to just accept that that horse is out of the barn, down the road and at Dairy Queen having a milkshake right now…{t}he Americans have been able to maintain a punitive strategy to China while still advancing and securing key American interests. The rest of us haven't…"I don't see any way Biden can back down and tell U.S. farmers, 'Hey you sucked it up under Trump for two years and you finally won something, and now I'm going to hand it back because it wasn't fair to our allies.'" said Carlo Dade, director of the trade and investment centre at the Canada West Foundation. 

From trade to the environment, here’s how a Biden win could impact Canada Global News, Stephanie Levitz (November 7, 2020)

Environment – "Biden has promised to put the U.S. back into the {Paris climate change pact} agreement as soon as possible, and that, plus his own domestic environmental policies, could be a boon for Canada, including by opening markets for Canadian clean energy technology. "

Immigration - Trump made wide-ranging changes to U.S. immigration policy that did influence the flow of people to Canada… Among them, a surge in asylum seekers who crossed irregularly into this country due to a loophole in the Safe Third Country Agreement. Canada has been trying to renegotiate that deal and might find a more willing dance partner in Biden — or the flow might dry up. Trump’s move to make it harder for people from certain countries to enter the U.S., and for people to obtain skilled worker visas, also saw a jump in immigration to Canada. Biden may reverse those changes, and there could be a subsequent “brain drain” from here."

Trade – "Trump’s years in office were marked by turbulence in Canada-U. S. trade relations, including the rewriting of the North American free trade deal. A Biden victory likely means an end to the persistent threat of the steel and aluminum tariffs that Trump imposed on Canada in 2018, using executive powers under U.S. trade law that gave the president the right to impose them on national-security grounds. "

Foreign Affairs – "In Biden, other Western leaders are likely to find more of an ally for international institutions such as the World Health Organization and NATO."

Politics – "Trump’s loss could dampen what’s been a common political attack against Conservatives in recent years — that they are merely trying to impose a Trumpian approach to Canadian politics — and give them political space to promote a Canadian conservatism without Trump’s shadow."