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Trade Insights - February, March  2023

April 3, 2023

CAFTA Members Strongly Oppose Bill C-282

 

On February 9th, CAFTA members issued a statement on the passing of the second reading of Bill C-282: An Act to amend the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act (supply management). Bill C-282 proposes not making any further commitments in tariff rate quotas and tariffs for dairy products, poultry, or eggs in trade negotiations. CAFTA members expressed their concern given the dangerous precedent and negative implications this bill could have for the wider Canadian economy.

 

CAFTA members expressed concern that this legislation would have far reaching implications for Canadian interests, would encourage our trading partners to protect their own sensitive areas and would erode Canada’s credibility as a country standing tall for free and open trade on the world stage. Members also pointed out that Canada’s largest and most beneficial trade agreements such as the Canada-US-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) have come through the compromise and flexibility needed when negotiating complex and ambitious trade agreements.

 

Bill C-282 is now being studied at the House Standing Committee for International Trade. CAFTA President Dan Darling appeared before the committee to testify against Bill C-282 on March 9th. Darling emphasized that this bill “will put us on a collision course with the United States and other major trading partners.”

 

CAFTA Vice President Greg Northey also appeared before the committee added that “If we're taking things off the table…it doesn't matter what sector it is or what protection of the sector we're doing, it means we will never be able to have commercially viable deals with any country.”

 

CAFTA continues to actively engage with Parliamentarians and stakeholders to advocate against this Bill and will continue to champion the values of free and open trade. Free and open trade is especially important for agri-food trade which is foundational to global food affordability security.

 

CAFTA Welcomes New Interim Executive Director

 

CAFTA welcomed Adam Taylor as CAFTA’s new interim executive on February 20th. As a former senior advisor in the federal government involved in negotiations towards the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and Canada’s official entry into the original Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, he brings a wealth of experience that will help advance CAFTA’s agenda. Dan Darling CAFTA President stated that “Over the past five years, Mr. Taylor been a strategic advisor to CAFTA and is well suited to continue to showcase CAFTA as Canada’s leading organization advocating for freer and rules-based trade.” The CAFTA Board also thanked past executive director Claire Citeau for her leadership over the past eight years.

 

Global Food Security Event

 

CAFTA, alongside the Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI) and the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI) hosted a one-day conference to bring together leaders from across agri-food, security, foreign affairs, and trade on January 31, 2022, in Ottawa. The event highlighted the intersection of farming and food production with trade, security, and diplomacy. The sessions featured prominent speakers such as the Honourable Minister for Agriculture and Agri-Food MarieClaude Bibeau, Chris Forbes, the former deputy minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Nadia Theodore, Ambassador of Canada to the World Trade Organization, Mairead Lavery, CEO and President, Export Development Canada and Steve Verheul, former Special Advisor to the Deputy Minister of Finance, International Trade Policy.

 

The event highlighted the opportunity for Canada to get ambitious and to step up to play a meaningful role in global food security through trade.

 

FTA Updates

 

UK-CAN and UK-CPTPP Accession

 

The latest round of negotiations on the UK’s accession process into CPTPP took place the week of February 27. Minister Ng visited the UK the week of March 14 and met with the UK’s Secretary of Business and Trade, Kemi Badenoch. Minister Ng and Secretary Badenoch discussed the ongoing process for the UK to accede to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Minister Ng reaffirmed Canada’s support of the United Kingdom’s accession to the CPTPP and encouraged continued momentum following substantial progress made at the last CPTPP Commission meeting in Vietnam. Minister Ng also led a Women’s Trade Mission to the UK. The following week, the bilateral Canada-UK negotiations entered their fifth round.

 

Indo-Pacific Economic Framework: Proposed Text

 

The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework’s (IPEF) second round of negotiations took place from March 15-19 in Bali, Indonesia. The first round took place in December in Brisbane, Australia. The Bali negotiating round had text-based proposals tabled by US negotiators on nearly all IPEF pillars and subtopics.

 

After Members of the US Congress asked the United States Trade Representative (USTR) Office to release public summaries of the proposals, USTR Katherine Tai, released the summary for the first chapter of text. In the agriculture provision, the text declares that in a manner consistent with the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements, IPEF countries will, “avoid unjustified measures that restrict food and agricultural imports…and exports.” The text also includes support for science-based and risk-based decision making.

 

We’ll continue to track these developments closely.

 

Indo-Pacific Strategy

 

In late February, the Honorable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade announced and led the First Team Canada Trade Mission to Singapore. CAFTA is actively working alongside the federal government as critical components of the Strategy get developed including the Indo-Pacific Agriculture and Agri-Food Office (IPAAO). Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity: Consultations Minister Ng launched public consultations for the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity (APEP) on March 27. Led by the US, the partnership includes 12 nations from the American continent (Barbados, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, the United States and Uruguay) committed to working together to advance mutual interests by strengthening regional competitiveness, supply chain resiliency, sustainable development, and investment. Consultations will be open until May 9, 2023.

 

Other Updates

 

US President Biden’s Visit to Canada

On March 23-24 the United States President Joe Biden made his first official visit to Canada as president. The leaders issued a joint statement with commitments to continue discussions to carve-in Canadian goods into Buy American requirements. 

 

Coalition of Trade Ministers on Climate

 

On the margins of the World Economic Forum conference, over 50 Ministers of Trade launched a Coalition of Trade Ministers on Climate. Canada’s Minister of Trade, the Honorable Minister Ng, endorsed the Coalition’s joint statement which calls for international cooperation to “promote trade and trade policies that pursue climate action across the WTO and relevant multilateral, plurilateral, regional and sectoral initiatives.”

WTO Updates

 

WTO Agriculture Committee: New Chair

 

World Trade Organization (WTO) members of the agriculture committee have agreed on a new Chair to facilitate talks on agriculture for the next Ministerial Conference (MC) in early 2024. Ambassador Alparslan Acarsoy from Turkey was chosen to chair the Special Session of the WTO Committee on Agriculture. The Committee has the goal to revitalize negotiations on agriculture. Agricultural negotiations have been stalled without a chair since last summer. Ambassador Acarsoy’s first statement emphasized the need to reach a successful outcome at MC13 as the previous two MCs have failed to deliver results in agricultural reform.

 

EU Calls for WTO Reform

 

Ahead of the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference, the European Union submitted a paper calling for the WTO to have a fully functioning WTO dispute settlement system by 2024. The paper also proposes three areas for deeper deliberation: subsidies, global environmental challenges, and inclusiveness for developing countries. The EU’s submission will be presented at the WTO General Council on March 6, 2023, and seeks to provide a basis for further discussion on these matters ahead of the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference taking place in early 2024. 

 

Subsidies and the Global Food Security Crisis

 

In early February, the heads of major multi-lateral organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank Group (WBG), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) issued a joint statement calling for urgent action to address the global crisis on food and nutrition security. To prevent a worsening of the crisis, the organizations called for urgent actions to facilitate trade including reforming and repurposing harmful subsidies. The statement highlights that “of every dollar spent [in subsidies], only 35 cents end up with farmers.” 

 

On the Hill

 

House of Commons Standing Committees

 

The House of Commons Standing Committee of International Trade (CIIT) continues to study Bill C-282 and will be reviewing the Bill clause by clause by the end of March. The Committee is also set to begin studying the Non-Tariff Barriers in Canada’s Existing and Potential International Trade Agreements in the coming months.

 

The House of Commons Standing Committee of Agriculture (AGRI) continues its study on Food Inflation, which has gained media attention by calling the heads of major food retailers as witnesses. The committee’s study on Global Food Insecurity is expected to be finalized in the coming days.

 

In case you missed it:

• Article: The new interventionism could pose a threat to global trade

• Article: It’s best for government to leave all trade on the table

• EU Commission presents EU-New Zealand trade agreement for ratification

• USDA Agricultural Projections to 2032

• United Kingdom Agricultural Production and Trade Policy Post-Brexit

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