Category Archives: General

Trans-Pacific Trade – Darkening Clouds on the Horizon

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (or TPP) trade negotiations, the biggest floating trade game on the planet, will be re-engaging in earnest this year, having missed their 2013 deadline, an impossible goal to begin with. Should the talks succeed, Canada and all TPP participants will gain from the effects of reduced barriers and other market-opening measures, especially… Read More »

Canada and Europe in 2014

This past year saw dramatic developments for Canada on the trade front, by far the most prominent being the conclusion of negotiations with the European Union on a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). Lots of fanfare last October in Brussels as the PM and EU President Barroso announced this milestone deal. This was followed… Read More »

Most-Favoured-Nation Treatment – Some Surprising Aspects

One of the main features of the Canada-Europe trade agreement or “CETA”, announced in October, will be incorporation of the Most-Favoured-Nation (MFN) treatment rule. MFN is a pillar of the international trading system under the WTO Agreement. It means you can’t discriminate among WTO member countries in your trading arrangements. You have to give exporters… Read More »

Canada-Europe Services – The Need for Effective Institutions

The information material the Feds have been issuing on the benefits of CETA is pretty good and quite informative, particularly on things like CETA’s tariff rate reductions in key industrial and agri-food sectors. There are clear gains in the manufactured goods – including in advanced manufacturing – and processed foods sectors. In some other areas,… Read More »

Canada-Europe – Provisional Application of CETA

While it’s too early to really know how each side (Ottawa and Brussels) will move toward implementing and ratifying the CETA – after all, we don’t even have the text of the treaty yet – there are some interesting scenarios that can be discussed. One scenario concers provisional implementation of the CETA. Can this be done before… Read More »

Canada-Europe Trade Deal – Where To Now?

Now that we have an agreement in principle for the CETA, announced with great fanfare on 18 October 2013, but no actual agreement, the question is: what are the next steps? Here is a primer on how it will work. FIRST, we DO need to have the actual text, a process that will take several… Read More »

Bangladesh and Private Rule-Making

The fallout from the clothing factory collapse in Bangladesh – which caught media attention for a while – has subsided. However, it has left western industries scrambling for a solution and for very real and effective safeguards against this thing happening again. There’s commercial self-interest involved, sure. Companies can’t afford the public opprobrium in ther… Read More »

Oil Sands – The European Challenge

Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources, fired a shot across the European bow last May over the possible enactment of the proposed EU Fuel Quality Directive (FDQ), saying that if it’s passed, Canada could march the Europeans to the World Trade Organisation. This came at a delicate time, as Canadian and European negotiators are trying… Read More »

Canada Sued More Than Mexico

Canada is being sued under the NAFTA investment arbitration regime (in NAFTA Chapter 11) more than Mexico and the US combined. Today, there are eight active cases underway against Canada – all by American investors. There are only two cases on the books against Mexico and only one underway against the United States. Taking into… Read More »

Green Energy Hits the Wall

Last May, the WTO Appellate Body turned down Canada’s appeal from the earlier WTO panel decision that found the local content requirements of the Ontario’s Green Energy Act and the Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) program offended the WTO Agreement. The decision is a critical one for the WTO, the first directly dealing with a country’s green energy… Read More »