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Why C-282 is bad policy for Canada

May 5, 2023

C-282 runs counter to Canada’s long-standing trade policy and will hurt Canada during trade negotiations

Restricting through legislation Canada’s ability to make decisions (on concessions and overall negotiating strategy) contradicts the government’s objective of achieving comprehensive trade outcomes (Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act, 10.2). 

Tying the hands of trade negotiators before negotiations even begin will result in less ambitious outcomes across the board as other countries will follow suit and exclude products or sectors from discussions where Canada has offensive interests.

This bill will encourage other sectors to also seek exclusion from trade talks and will send the signal that protectionism is acceptable and indeed desirable – a public policy course that would be devastating for an export-dependent country like Canada.

C-282 erodes Canada’s credibility as a leading voice for free and open trade

Other countries are watching this legislation closely, and this bill’s passage will have

immediate negative consequences as we fully expect many of our trading partners will respond by threatening to refuse to extend, review or modernize existing trade agreements.

It would establish Canada as an unambitious trading partner and would limit our ability to even be invited to a seat at the table of various bilateral and multilateral negotiations.

This legislation contradicts Canada’s leadership at international fora like the WTO, where Canada opposes protectionism and supports free- and rules-based trade.

C-282 is bad policy for a highly diversified economy like Canada’s

Would lead to less ambitious and less commercially meaningful outcomes for all of Canada because it would encourage every country to avoid making any significant concessions, especially in sensitive areas.

Would prioritize the economic interests of the products or sectors excluded above the economic interests of any other sectors in Canada.

 

This could harm future growth opportunities for sectors that depend on trade, such as agriculture, energy, manufacturing, forestry, mineral products, and consumer goods.

 

It also would limit our economic growth as a country by not being able to secure meaningful trade agreements in high-growth areas like the Indo-Pacific and Africa.

C-282 is bad from a food security perspective

International trade supports the accessibility and affordability of food. We cannot achieve global food security without free and open trade. 

As the world’s fifth largest food exporter, Canada has a responsibility to feed the world. Closing access to markets is closing access to food. 

 

This bill directly contradicts Canada’s commitments in recently signed declarations on food security at the G7, G20, WTO and APEC. 

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