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


Support for Canadian Forestry Sector


A Quebec MP is raising concerns that EDC is contributing to the financing of the Coastal Gaslink project in the absence of support for the forestry sector.

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Releasable Background

On May 13, 2020, Le Quotidien (Saguenay, Qc) published an article quoting the reaction of the local MP (Mario Simard - BQ) related to the decision by EDC to provide a loan to TC Energy toward the financing of the construction of the Coastal Gaslink project in British Columbia.  Other financial institutions are contributing to this project. The EDC loan is within the $200 million - $500 million range (For confidentiality reasons, EDC is not able disclose the exact amount of the loan).

The Government has implemented a number of support programs available to companies in all industrial sectors, including the forestry sector. Since the outbreak of the Covid -19, EDC and BDC have been collaborating with financial institutions on the Canadian Emergency Business Account and have provided loans and guarantees to affected companies to help them surmount liquidity shortages and maintain operations.  EDC has also established a program adapted to mid-sized enterprises and on May 11, 2020, the Government announced  the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility making bridge loans available to larger companies. The Government has also announced a wage subsidy program which will allow employers to maintain employment during the crisis. All these programs are available to enterprises in the forestry sector.

Canada allocated in Budget 2019 an additional $251.3 million over three years to some existing support programs for the forestry sector that were funded by the $867 million Softwood Lumber Action Plan in June 2017.

India - Pharmaceutical Imports


What is Canada doing in response to recent delays in the release of pharmaceutical products from India?

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Releasable Background

In 2019, Canadian imports of pharmaceutical products from India amounted to $410 million, including $386 million of medicines destined to retail sale, $12.6 million of pharmaceutical goods and $6.3 million of other medicines.

On March 3, India restricted the export of 13 active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), and formulations made from these.

On March 25, India added hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to the list of restricted exports; a drug used to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, among other ailments.

On April 6, under mounting international pressure, India rescinded the export restrictions on 12 of the 13 APIs, leaving paracetamol (also known as acetaminophen), along with HCQ, as the only pharmaceutical products remaining on the restricted list.

Since then, India has permitted the export of 5 million HCQ tablets along with 3510 kg of HCQ API and, acetaminophen tablets and API to Canada.  The Government of Canada is working closely with the Government of India on other orders of these two products to ensure that Canada's critical medical needs are met.

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

Against the backdrop of trade restrictions imposed globally in response to COVID-19 Canada has co-sponsored a number of international statements as a part of its advocacy efforts to ensure an undisrupted flow of medical supplies and essential goods and minimize the negative impacts on global supply chains.  Canada has emphasized in these statements that emergency trade measures be proportionate, transparent, temporary and consistent with WTO rules. This includes the following:

March 25 - Statement on supply chain connectivity for medical supplies and other products - supported by Australia, Brunei, Canada Chile, Myanmar, New Zealand and Singapore. Uruguay, Lao PDR and the UAE have since joined the statement.

March 26, 30 - G20 Leaders Trade Ministers statements.

April 22 - Canada and 24 WTO members issue a joint Ministerial statement on open and predictable trade in agricultural and agri-food products.

April 30 - Korea, Canada, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, endorsed a joint ministerial statement that addresses global supply chains; the flow of goods, services and people;

May 5 - Canada and other APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade issue a statement.

May 5 - Canada and 42 other WTO members released a statement that reinforces support for the rules-based multilateral trading system and a role for the WTO in global economic recovery.

May 14 - G20 Trade Ministers statement and endorsement of action items to support world trade and investment responses to COVID-19.

As of May 19/20, approximately 162 export restrictions have been enacted by 85 countries.  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.

Canada has undertaken several domestic measures which are aimed at facilitating trade. Canada has temporarily waived tariffs and sales taxes on goods imported by public health agencies, hospitals and testing sites, and first response organizations. Canada has also provided flexibility to current regulatory requirements such as waiving labelling requirements on hand sanitizers.

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