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


Special Committee on International pledge for open supply chains


Canada has been working in various multilateral fora with likeminded countries to support global supply chains and the movement of essential personnel.

Responsive Lines

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Releasable Background

Against the backdrop of a growing number 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 various 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 essential 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 25, 2020, approximately 188 export restrictions have been enacted by 92 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.

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.

India - Pharmaceutical Imports


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

Responsive Lines

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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.

Under mounting international pressure, India rescinded the export restrictions on all APIs, leaving HCQ as the only pharmaceutical product remaining on the restricted list.

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

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