The Canada Border Services Agency recently announced much-anticipated changes to the Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS). The changes will result in a wholesale revamping of the existing AMPS penalty regime. While the current AMPS came into effect in October 2002, plans are in the works to replace the existing rules with an entirely new and improved system which should be more acceptable to traders.
Canada recently announced the conclusion of a new free trade agreement and the conclusion of free trade negotiations as part of its Global Commerce Strategy. The strategy has been described as an aggressive trade negotiations agenda aimed at securing competitive terms of access in markets that offer significant potential for Canadian products and expertise.
In a recent address to the Vancouver Board of Trade, Minister of Industry Jim Prentice indicated that the federal government intends to revise the Investment Canada Act. This update addresses the implications of these revisions for Canada's trade policies.
The increased economic activity in India has highlighted the potential for further growth in cross-border trade and investment both going into and coming out of India. Canada is in the final stages of concluding a bilateral investment treaty with India which is expected to increase significantly investment by Canadian companies in the Indian market.
The Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement between the governments of Alberta and British Columbia applies to all government measures, including legislation, regulations, standards, policies, procedures and guidelines affecting trade, investment and labour mobility. It is designed to break down further existing barriers to inter-provincial trade.
A recent tariff classification decision by the Canadian International Trade Tribunal illustrated how an importer can lower customs duties and avoid anti-dumping duties by carefully structuring the importation of goods. The tribunal rejected the Canada Border Service Agency's position on how footwear components imported together should be classified for customs purposes.
The Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) recently issued two decisions dealing with whether used recreational vehicles imported into Canada qualify for duty-free treatment pursuant to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The CITT denied preferential tariff treatment in both cases and, in so doing, created uncertainty where none existed before.
An arbitration tribunal has rejected a claim by United Parcel Service of America (UPS) under Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) alleging that the Canadian government gives its state-owned postal service favourable treatment over UPS. However, while the tribunal's findings may lead to NAFTA governments heaving a collective sigh of relief, the respite could be short-lived.
The Federal Court of Appeal recently refused to interfere with a decision of the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT), and in so doing recognized a high degree of deference towards the CITT in dealing with complaints of injury caused by subsidized and dumped imports. The case originated in allegations that dumped and subsidized US corn was causing injury to the Canadian corn production industry.
Canada has announced a free trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Intermittent negotiations for the past nine years have resulted in a Canada-EFTA free trade agreement that is expected to be 'first-generational', meaning that it has an emphasis on goods.
Through long-term proposals in the areas of infrastructure, entrepreneurship and strengthening Canada's skilled and flexible workforce, the federal 2007 Budget indicates that the government recognizes the significance of international trade and investment to Canada's growth and prosperity. It remains to be seen whether this momentum will be sustained in the coming years.
Increasingly, manufacturers are planning to locate plants in Asian countries, such as China, to serve that market and the Canadian market. This trend raises a number of issues that should be considered by Canadian businesses and there are a number of measures that Canadian businesses can consider in order to contend with the onslaught of low-priced competition from Asian countries.
A recent Canadian International Trade Tribunal decision adds to the growing jurisprudence on Canada's customs valuation rules requiring dutiable value to be based on the sale for export to a purchaser in Canada and suggests that there is an opportunity for sales among related companies to be assessed for duties at a lower value.
Over the past decade China has become a significant importer of goods, services and technology. Canadian businesses exporting to China are presented with a wide range of opportunities, but must also navigate a complex set of export control laws and regulations.
With the continuing rise of the Chinese economy, achieving a Canada-China investment treaty has become imperative. Although negotiations recommenced towards the end of 2005 and are still ongoing, the case for the completion of a bilateral investment treaty between Canada and China grows with each passing year.
In 2006 the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal have initiated, investigated and concluded various dumping and subsidy cases involving the People's Republic of China. In one case, Chinese exporters of certain copper pipe fittings were the subject of a dumping and unfair subsidization investigation by the CBSA.
Canada and the United States have recently signed a new softwood lumber agreement with the support of all major exporting Canadian provinces and a majority of companies in the industry. The agreement attempts to put an end to one of the longest trade disputes in history and to various proceedings before US courts, North American Free Trade Agreement panels and the World Trade Organization.
A recent ruling related to the ongoing softwood lumber dispute shows that while the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), including the investor-state rules in Chapter 11, has an inherently political dimension, it is first and foremost a legal document - and one whose terms will be interpreted according to the precisely worded formulations negotiated by the parties.
One in five Canadian jobs is linked to international trade; therefore, market access and investment issues are a high priority for the government. In light of this, the government recently published its annual summary of its priorities for improving access to foreign markets for Canadian traders and investors.
In the last few years, footwear importers have enjoyed a fair amount of success in defending against the imposition of new and/or continued anti-dumping duties on various kinds of footwear imported into Canada. In the latest development, the Canada Border Services Agency has initiated a reinvestigation into the two sets of findings that are still in place or yet to be reviewed.