On January 31, 2017, Bill C-31 “An Act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and Ukraine” will be discussed by the Standing Committee on International Trade. Bill C-31 was introduced in the House of Commons on November 3, 2016 and received First Reading. On December 13, 2016, Bill C-31 received Second Reading and was referred to the Standing Committee on International Trade.
The first meeting of the Standing Committee on International Trade to discuss Bill C-31 took place on December 1, 2016. The second meeting is happening today.
December 1, 2016 testimony, the Committee was informed that:
- Ukraine President Poroshenko introduced legislation on November 17 to implement the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement and it is anticipated that by the time Canada completes its ratification process, Ukraine will have completed theirs. Canada likely won’t be waiting for Ukraine to implement the FTA.
- The vast majority of tariffs will be eliminated under this agreement. There are very few exclusions from tariff concessions. There will be very few tariff barriers left once the agreement is fully implemented in seven years. As a practical matter, the only thing that Ukraine excluded from tariff concessions in this agreement is refined sugar, and that was a reciprocal thing.
- On the Canadian side, except for autos, everything on our side is going to zero on day one.
- There’s a provision in the Canada-Ukraine FTA that obliges the parties to get together within two years following implementation of the agreement to discuss the possibility of expanding it into areas such as services, which would include temporary entry.
- The inclusion of the whole services cluster, which includes cross-border financial services, temporary entry, and telecommunication services, is something that was very much of interest to Canada in these negotiations. In fact, it was part of negotiations for a good part of the process. We tried every way possible to get on the same page as Ukraine in that area. Ultimately, it just was not possible, due to various constraints, including the nature of Ukraine’s preferred model vis-à-vis that of Canada in terms of how to memorialize concessions and commitments in this area.
- Since 1995, Canada and Ukraine we have had an agreement in place for foreign investment promotion and protection. It is a high-quality agreement and it will continue to be in place. It provides solid coverage for our Canadian investors in Ukraine.
We will continue to report on developments as Bill C-31 progresses through the Canadian legislative process.
For more information about the Canada-Ukraine FTA, please contact Cyndee Todgham Cherniak at 416-307-4168 or firstname.lastname@example.org. More information is on the LexSage website.