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Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade appearance before the Special Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic


International pledge for open supply chains


On Mar 25/20 Canada endorsed a joint statement with Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Myanmar, New Zealand & Singapore committing to ensuring supply chain connectivity amidst the COVID-19 situation.

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Releasable Background

On March 25, 2020, Canada endorsed a statement - alongside international partners Australia, Brunei, Chile, Myanmar, New Zealand and Singapore - which affirms their commitment to ensuring supply chain connectivity for essential medical supplies and other products during the COVID-19 crisis. Uruguay and Lao PDR have since joined the statement.

Canada and members of the G20 have also recently pledged their commitment to keep supply chains open. On March 26, G20 Leaders agreed on the need to ensure the flow of vital medical supplies, critical agricultural products and other essential goods and services; resolve disruptions in global supply chains; and ensure that emergency measures are proportionate, transparent and temporary.  This commitment was further elaborated by G20 Trade Ministers who released a statement on March 30.

These international statements have been against the backdrop of a growing number of trade restrictions imposed globally in response to COVID-19.  As of April 10, 2020, more than 100 export restrictions have been enacted by 75 countries in response to the pandemic.  Many of these restrictions apply to medical products such as masks, pharmaceuticals, and disinfectants; however export controls on agricultural products are also beginning to emerge, especially staples such as grains and rice even though stocks are high and prices are low.  Such restrictions pose a risk to global supply chains and countries' responses to the pandemic, and are of concern to Canada and other countries.

In the meantime, Canada has undertaken several domestic measures which are aimed at facilitating trade.  For example, Canada has temporarily waived tariffs and sales taxes on goods imported by public health agencies, hospitals and testing sites, and first response organizations (e.g., Red Cross, police and fire) until further notice. This is intended to facilitate the supply of essential items.  Canada has also provided flexibility to current regulatory requirements such as waiving labelling requirements on hand sanitizers.

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