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March 24, 2017
Canada's trade remedy system will be reinforced
Following a series of consultations held since May 2016, the Federal Government is proposing several changes to Canada's trade remedy system, which is used to protect Canadian manufacturers from imports of goods that are subsidized by foreign governments or sold at unfair prices by foreign vendors. Below are the proposed modifications, as published in the Government's Budget 2017 documents released this week:
Measures to strengthen Canada's trade remedy system
Further to public consultations undertaken in 2016, Budget 2017 proposes a number of amendments to the Special Import Measures Act (SIMA) and related trade remedy regulations. These amendments will ensure that Canada's trade remedy system is strengthened and keeps accounting for the views of all stakeholders, while remaining aligned with international trade rules.
The SIMA will be amended to allow domestic producers to file a complaint regarding trade and business practices specifically intended to avoid trade remedy duties. With these amendments, duties may be extended to goods found to circumvent a trade remedy measure, following a formal investigation by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), in which all interested parties will be able to participate.
The transparency of Canada's trade remedy system will be enhanced by allowing interested parties to request that the CBSA conduct a formal review to determine whether a specific product falls within the scope of a trade remedy measure. In addition, amendments will be made to enhance the ability of interested parties to monitor and appeal ongoing enforcement decisions.
Recognizing that labour unions have an important perspective to bring to trade remedy investigations, and in line with the Government's progressive approach to trade, regulatory amendments will be made to ensure that unions have the right to participate as interested parties in trade remedy proceedings.
Addressing Particular Market Situations
When determining whether dumping is occurring, it is important to ensure that a proper comparison can be made between prices of the goods in the exporting country and prices of the goods when exported to Canada. The SIMA will be amended to provide greater discretion to the CBSA when assessing the reliability of prices in the exporting country in anti-dumping investigations. Where CBSA investigators find that prices are distorted due to the presence of a "particular market situation", it will now be possible to use alternative approaches to ensure a proper comparison.
Ensuring Canada's Trade Remedy System is Consistent with International Obligations
In December 2016, the World Trade Organization (WTO) found that aspects of Canadian trade remedy law were inconsistent with Canada's obligations under the WTO rules. Canada takes its international trade obligations seriously. Accordingly, amendments will be made to SIMA in respect of exporters found to be dumping at de minimis levels, in order to ensure Canada brings itself into compliance.
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