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Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development appearance before the Standing Committee on International Trade (CIIT) on the subject matter of Bill C-57, An Act to implement the 2023 Free Trade Agreement between Canada and Ukraine

November 7, 2023
Published: February 23, 2024

Table of Contents

A. CIIT Committee Overview

  1. Opening Remarks

B. Issues Papers

  1. Private Member’s Bill C-282, An Act to Amend the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act (Supply Management)
  2. Investment Arrangement Negotiations with Taiwan
  3. The United Kingdom’s Accession to the CPTPP
  4. Israel-Gaza war
  5. Economic Effects of July 2023 BC Port Strikes

C. Additional Background

  1. Ukrainian Legislative Process

Opening Remarks

Implementation of the Modernized Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA)

November 7, 2023

Thank you and good morning, Madam Chair and esteemed committee members.

It is always a pleasure to appear before you and support your important work – and I am especially pleased to be here to speak to today’s agenda item.

As you know, Bill C-57, or An Act to implement the 2023 Free Trade Agreement between Canada and Ukraine, continues to be considered by the House of Commons, and this committee's deliberations are an important part of the Parliamentary process.

This modernized trade agreement represents an historic milestone in the Canada-Ukraine commercial relationship and is a clear demonstration of Canada’s steadfast and unwavering support to Ukraine in the face of Russia’s illegal and unjustified invasion.

As we all know, Canada and Ukraine have enjoyed close bilateral relations since 1991, when Canada became the first Western country to recognize Ukrainian independence. These bilateral relations are strengthened by shared values and warm people-to-people ties rooted in the Ukrainian-Canadian community of approximately 1.3 million people.

In recent years, our bilateral relationship has been marked by Canada’s whole-of-government, multifaceted support to Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity, both since Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014, and in response to its full-scale invasion of 2022.

Since 2014, the Government of Canada has provided roughly $9.5 billion in multifaceted support, spanning diplomatic, humanitarian, military, and financial lines.

The modernized CUFTA, which we have gathered here today to discuss, is the latest demonstration of Canada’s unwavering support.

The original CUFTA, which entered into force in 2017, was comprehensive from a trade-in-goods perspective, but did not include chapters on services, investment, inclusive trade, and other areas that Canada now often seeks in its modern FTA model.

As a result, in July 2019, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy and Prime Minister Trudeau announced plans to modernize the agreement to add these and other areas.

Following delays due to COVID-19, my Ukrainian counterpart, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Yulia Svyrydenko, and I announced the launch of modernization negotiations in January 2022.

As we know, less than one month later, Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, causing another delay in progress until May 2022, when Minister Svyrydenko conveyed to me her government’s readiness to initiate and indeed expedite negotiations to strengthen the bilateral relationship, and support Ukraine’s long-term economic and trade interests.

She further shared the value Ukraine places on its relations with Canada, particularly with respect to our firm recognition of and long-term confidence in Ukraine as a sovereign and independent partner.

In June 2022 Canadian and Ukrainian trade officials set to work, and despite several periods of delay due to Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy and communications infrastructure, our teams completed highly collaborative discussions for a modern, high-standard FTA in April 2023.

The conclusion of negotiations was announced by Prime Minister Trudeau and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal on April 11, 2023, during a visit to Toronto.

Over the summer months, officials undertook the mandatory preparations for the agreement’s entry into force, including the completion of a legal review and translation of the treaty text into French and Ukrainian.

Recently, the landmark initiative came full circle: Prime Minister Trudeau and President Zelenskyy signed the final, modernized CUFTA in Ottawa in September, just over four years since President Zelenskyy’s previous visit, when he and Prime Minister Trudeau first announced their intention to modernize the Agreement.

Distinguished colleagues, if I may, I would like to say a few words about this historic agreement.

It is a highly ambitious and comprehensive deal, with commitments on par with those contained in some of Canada’s most state-of-the-art agreements such as the CUSMA and the CPTPP.

Canada and Ukraine have added 9 dedicated new chapters, including on cross-border trade in services, investment, financial services, telecommunications, and good regulatory practices.

It also includes dedicated new chapters on inclusive trade, including trade and gender, trade and Indigenous Peoples, and trade and small and medium-sized enterprises, to ensure that the opportunities and benefits of the agreement are widely shared.

We have also expanded and improved 9 chapters from the existing agreement, including on rules of origin and origin procedures, digital trade, competition policy, designated monopolies and state-owned enterprises, labour, environment, and transparency, anti-corruption and responsible business conduct.

The ultimate outcome is a modern, ambitious, and fully comprehensive FTA that will underpin the Canadian-Ukrainian bilateral commercial relationship for years to come, and support Ukraine’s long-term recovery and trade interests.

In fact, by serving as a demonstration of Ukraine’s ability to adhere to ambitious commitments in a range of areas, our Ukrainian counterparts have affirmed the value this Agreement will have as a new model for its efforts to advance economic integration with other partners around the world.

Furthermore, this Agreement provides a strong bilateral legal framework to support and encourage Canadian firms to initiate and expand their operations in Ukraine, and for Canada to participate in Ukraine’s reconstruction and longer-term recovery.

In fact, later this month, I will be participating in the second annual “Rebuilding Ukraine” Conference in Toronto, where I and my counterpart, Minister Svyrydenko, have been invited to speak about the modernized CUFTA as well as engage with Canadian companies interested in investing and playing a role in Ukraine’s reconstruction.

As I announced when I tabled the modernized CUFTA and Bill C-57 in the House of Commons, I am also planning to lead a business mission to Ukraine next year. This mission will build on the momentum of the modernized CUFTA to create new connections between Canadian and Ukrainian businesses, and allow Canadian businesses to learn first-hand how they can participate in the reconstruction of Ukraine.

Distinguished colleagues, I thank you again for your interest in this historic agreement. Along with our Canadian trade officials responsible for this initiative, who I am joined with here today, I stand ready to discuss and respond to any questions raised by the Committee.

Thank you.

Private Member’s Bill C-282: An Act to Amend the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act (supply management)

Top Line Messages

Latest Developments

Current Positions And Upcoming Milestones


PMB C-282 is a Bloc Québécois bill introduced by MP Luc Thériault (Montcalm). The Bill seeks to amend the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act such that the Minister of Foreign Affairs cannot, on behalf of the Government of Canada, make any new commitment in an international treaty that would have the effect of increasing tariff rate quota (TRQ) volumes or reducing over-quota tariff rates for dairy products, poultry or eggs (supply-managed goods). This Bill would apply to negotiations towards new free trade agreements (FTAs) or renegotiating existing FTAs.

Canada’s approach in its FTAs has been to seek the elimination of tariffs on the vast majority of goods, while seeking to exclude the most sensitive agriculture goods from tariff commitments, including products covered by supply management. New market access commitments for supply-managed products have been undertaken in only three FTAs: the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). Such commitments were accepted only where it was deemed necessary to conclude trade agreements that were in Canada’s overall economic interests. While new access for supply-managed products was provided in those agreements, the integrity of the supply management system itself, including its three pillars (pricing, production, and import controls), was fully maintained.

Since CUSMA, the Government has made clear its commitment to make no further market access concessions for supply-managed products in future trade negotiations. In line with this publicly stated commitment, notably, the Canada-United Kingdom Trade Continuity Agreement did not provide new market access for cheese or any other supply-managed products even though this was an important issue for the United Kingdom.

During debate in the House of Commons and study at the Standing Committee on International Trade (CIIT), supporters of this Bill noted Canada’s three trade agreements and the increase in market access in supply-managed products as the reason why Bill C-282 is necessary. Stakeholders from the supply-managed sectors also expressed their support through written submissions and witness testimony at the CIIT.

On the other hand, opposition to the Bill was expressed by certain Members of Parliament and export-oriented industry stakeholders. Expressed concerns focused on the unintended consequences of the Bill for Canada’s international trade agenda, in particular vis-à-vis the United Sates. In particular, opposing stakeholders considered that:

  1. By reducing possible outcomes in FTAs, the Bill would limit Canada’s negotiating capacity with new partners and existing partners, in particular the United States should it seek new concessions in the context of the 6-year review of CUSMA.
  2. The Bill would set a precedent for other sectors to seek similar protection.
  3. The Bill could restrict the Crown Prerogative on the Minister of Foreign Affairs in conducting international affairs.

PMB C-282 is a verbatim reintroduction of PMB C-216 from the 43-2 Parliamentary session which was studied by the CIIT and reported back to the House of Commons on division. It died on the Order Paper when the general election was called in August 2021. During the CIIT study of C-282, concerns were raised by the CPC regarding the changes in officials’ testimonies from C-216 and C-282.

Investment Arrangement Negotiations with Taiwan

Top Line Messgaes


What is an investment arrangement?

Why are we pursuing an investment arrangement with Taiwan?

Does this new investment arrangement include an Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism?

Will the government be allowed to regulate in the public interest?

What areas of investment is this new arrangement anticipated to increase?

Responsive Only – One China Policy

Responsive Only – What is the difference between a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) and an investment arrangement?

Responsive Only – [REDACTED]

Responsive Only – Does this mean Canada will support Taiwan’s accession to the CPTPP?

The United Kingdom’s Accession to the CPTPP

Top Line Messages

Supplementary Messages


Responsive: Parallel nature of the U.K. CPTPP accession and the Canada-U.K. FTA

Responsive: Concerns expressed by the meat sector

Responsive: Canada’s position on other accession applicants (China, Taiwan, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Ukraine)

Responsive: Ukraine’s CPTPP accession application


Following the signing of the U.K. accession protocol on July 16, CPTPP Parties and the U.K. are now undertaking their respective domestic ratification processes to bring the U.K. Accession Protocol into force. The CPTPP U.K. Accession Protocol will enter into force under a “universal” approach, 60 days after the United Kingdom and all of the Parties have ratified the Protocol. In the event that not all Parties and the United Kingdom have ratified within a period of 15 months, the approach pivots to “critical mass”, and the Accession Protocol will enter into force 60 days after both the United Kingdom and at least six Parties to the CPTPP have ratified, for the United Kingdom and Parties that have ratified the Accession Protocol. Timelines for Canada’s ratification of the Accession Protocol are still in flux.

Supporting Facts and Figures


On February 1, 2021, the United Kingdom became the first economy to submit its application to accede to the CPTPP. On June 1, 2021, Canada and its CPTPP partners agreed by consensus to start the process for the United Kingdom to join the CPTPP. Through an Accession Working Group established in September 2021, the United Kingdom worked with Parties to demonstrate that its regulatory regime complies with the rules of the Agreement. On March 30, 2023, CPTPP Parties and the United Kingdom announced the substantial conclusion of accession negotiations. At a signing ceremony on July 16, CPTPP Parties officially welcomed the United Kingdom as the Agreements 12th member, and first and only successful accession candidate.

Israel-Gaza war

Topline Messages



This is a transformational war – for both Israel and Hamas. The October 7 attack - unprecedented in scale, brutality and outcome [REDACTED] Israel’s stated objective is the complete destruction of Hamas through all necessary means, [REDACTED]Violence in the West Bank is increasing. Israeli settler violence has risen significantly since the crisis began[REDACTED] As with any conflict, disinformation and misinformation is prevalent and is fueling tensions (the purported bombing of the Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza on October 17 – and the subsequent regional and international outcry in response - is a case in point).

Israel’s ground offensive in Gaza has not yet begun. The conflict has featured heavy IDF airstrikes against Hamas infrastructure and targets, with rockets from several Palestinian terror groups continuing to be fired at southern and central Israel. Tensions on the Israeli border with Lebanon continue to intensify. [REDACTED]

Canadian Position

G7 Country and Invited Guest Positions

Section Three


Israeli response

Israel responded to the attacks with airstrikes on Hamas targets in Gaza. Skirmishes have also occurred along Israel’s northern boundary with Lebanon. Defense Minister Gallant stated that the goal of Israel’s campaign in Gaza is to “wipe Hamas off the face of the earth.” Israel’s ground invasion has yet to commence. In anticipation of the invasion, last weekend Israel warned all Gazans in the north to evacuate to the south for their own safety. Despite continued IDF airstrikes against Hamas infrastructure and high value targets, rockets continue to be fired at southern and central Israel.

Humanitarian Situation

Following President Biden’s visit to Israel, an announcement was made by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office that humanitarian aid would be let in through Gaza’s southern border (with Egypt) as long as it does not fall into the hands of Hamas. The announcement also stated that Israel would not allow in aid through its own crossing with Gaza until the hostages are released. Israel has demanded that the Red Cross be allowed to visit the hostages and is working to mobilize broad international support for this demand. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) claims that Hamas has been obstructing the movement of humanitarian aid and civilians in Gaza and stealing fuel and other supplies. As of October 19, the Rafah border remains closed. Egypt has announced an aid corridor via this border, with the first 20 trucks transporting water, food and medicine planned for October 20. Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation for those trying to leave Gaza is increasingly desperate.

Prime Minister Trudeau has announced $10 million in humanitarian aid to address urgent needs in Gaza and Israel. The new funding will provide life-saving supports, including food, water, emergency medical assistance, and protection services.

Regional Overview

Tensions continue to escalate on the Northern Border, with clashes between Hezbollah and Israeli forces. Iran has demanded an end to Israeli strikes on Gaza and called for an oil embargo against Israel by Islamic countries. Meanwhile, the U.S. successfully thwarted an attack on its forces in Iraq, likely from Iran-backed Shia Militia Groups. On the international stage, Chinese and Russian leaders have condemned Israel's actions in Gaza and called for a ceasefire. Tensions in the West Bank have also intensified, with Palestinian demonstrations against PA President Abbas potentially opening another front of conflict and continued extremist settler violence.

Despite US efforts to deter Iran and its proxies from opening a second front against Israel, the risk of a wider conflagration between Israel and Hezbollah could increase depending on the scale of Israel’s offensive in Gaza.

Prospects for Resolution

Israel is unlikely to be deterred by calls for de-escalation or talks with Hamas until its military objectives – the elimination of Hamas’ political and military infrastructure and leadership – have been met. The holding of hostages by Hamas and affiliated groups will continue to complicate any prospects for talks. Israel has publicly stated that the hostage situation will not impact its decision to undertake a ground invasion of Gaza. Hamas has used the strategy of holding hostages in the past to gain material concessions and the release of Palestinian prisoners.

Economic Effects of July 2023 B.C Port Strikes


During July 2023, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union announced a strike of over 7,200 workers at the ports of British Columbia. This strike lasted 13-days (July 1-13, 2023) and caused a shutdown of more than 30 terminals, including Canada’s largest and busiest port, the Port of Vancouver. The strike resulted in significant disruptions to trade, and placed strain on supply chains in the months following as backlogs cleared. Statistics Canada estimated that imports cleared in B.C. marine ports fell by 18.5% during July compared with June, while exports leaving B.C. ports fell by 23.0%. On August 4, port workers voted to accept a new four-year long agreement with their employer, marking an official resolution to the dispute.


British Columbia is home to Canada’s largest ports. In 2022, West Coast ports (Prince Rupert and Vancouver) combined, handled 165.5M tonnes of cargo (3.2M tonnes per week) and 4.7M Twenty-Foot Equivalent units (TEU), 3.6M at Vancouver and 1.1M at Prince Rupert.

In particular, the Port of Vancouver is a key terminal for Canada’s commodities trade. Bulk and breakbulk (goods stowed in individual units as opposed to loose or unpacked form) is the largest component of cargo traffic at the ports in the area, making up close to 80% of combined tonnage in 2022. Notably, the Port of Vancouver handles inbound shipments of the following bulk commodities:

On the outbound side, the Port of Vancouver handles shipments of:

It is estimated that the strike impeded the movement of cargo valued at around $10B in total, significantly impacting Canadian supply chains throughout the country. The ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert support an estimated 104,000 direct and indirect jobs.

There have been notable disruptions to Canada’s international trade as a result of the strike. Statistics Canada estimated that imports cleared in B.C. marine ports fell by 18.5% during July compared with June. This marks the strongest decline since 2005. Exports leaving B.C. marine ports were also severely affected, falling by 23.0%.

B.C. ports are essential for facilitating Canada’s trade with countries in the Indo-Pacific region and Central and South America. When the data is adjusted for seasonality, widespread declines in overall imports from countries on the Pacific Rim—such as China, Taiwan, South Korea, Peru and Japan—were observed during the strike’s month.

In addition to disrupting trade, it created uncertainty for trading businesses and thus our global partners. For example, Canpotex, a key exporter of Canadian potash withdrew all offers for new potash in July, citing need for greater clarity on supply chain predictability through the Port of Vancouver. Following the resolution of the labour dispute, Canpotex affirmed a commitment to ship potash to global markets.

Another main concern resulting from the strike is the risk posed to the integrated high-value North American manufacturing sector such as auto assembly plants and battery production amid the lack of critical parts and equipment. At the time of work resumption, auto assembly lines were within a week of shutdowns causing concern both domestically and notably with the United States.

Talking Points

Ukrainian Legislative Process

Top Messages/Talking Points:

Differences Between Canadian and Ukrainian Legislative Processes

Steps Ukrainian Legislative Process

Broadly, there are three steps in Ukraine’s legislative process:

  1. An administrative or Cabinet stage
    • If pressed:
    • Preparation of a legislative and ratification package by Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    • Submission and approval of the legislative package to the Office of the President and/or Cabinet
  1. A parliamentary stage
    • If pressed:
    • Draft legislation is assigned to a parliamentary committee responsible for the subject matter of the bill.
    • The committee reviews the bill and can either adopt the bill and approve it for first reading, or reject it.
    • If adopted, it is sent for inclusion on the agenda of the plenary session of the Verkhovna Rada, where it is debated and voted on.
    • The bill can be passed as a whole at this stage, OR passed at first reading, after which it would repeat the committee stage and plenary session at a second reading, and can repeat again for a third reading – but third readings are rare.
    • Once passed as a whole, it is signed by the speaker of the Verkhovna Rada and sent to the office of the President.
  1. A signature, publication, and entry into force stage
    • If pressed:
    • Once the President receives the law, they can either sign and adopt the law or veto it.
    • Once signed, the law is published on the official newspaper of the Verkhovna Rada and enters into force upon publication (unless otherwise stipulated by the law).

Additional Sources:

Annex: Document Received from Canada’s Embassy in Kyiv

Law-making process in the Verkhovna Rada


1. Initiation/registration of a draft law

The right to a legislative initiative (to register a bill) belongs to:

  1. MP, or group of MPs;
  2. Cabinet of Ministers;
  3. President.

Traditionally, in the Ukrainian parliament the overwhelming majority of the draft laws (up to 90%) are initiated by MPs.

After a draft is registered, there is 14-day period when an alternative draft on the same issue can be initiated.

2. Review by the responsible committee

Each draft law is assigned to a certain parliamentary committee responsible for the subject matter of this legal initiative. This committee becomes a leading responsible committee to consider and approve the draft for the plenary session.

Other relevant committees (for instance, Budgetary or European Integration Committee), as well as parliamentary Scientific and Expert Department and Legal Department can also review and provide their opinion on a draft.

The leading responsible committee reviews the bill and all the recommendations and has the power to either adopt the draft law and approve it for the first reading, or to reject it.

Most stakeholder/citizen engagement (consultations, public hearings, round tables) happens on the level of committee work.

3. Inclusion in the plenary agenda

After the leading committee approves the draft for the first reading, it needs to be included into the agenda of the next plenary session.

Agenda for the plenary is set during the Conciliatory Board meetings - a meeting of the leadership of parliament and heads of factions/groups to discuss agenda for the plenary sessions and other organizational aspects of parliamentary work; usually convened before each plenary session.

4. Consideration during the plenary session

When the draft ends up on the agenda of a plenary session, it is debated and requires a simple majority of MPs (226) to be adopted, except for certain category of bills that require a constitutional majority (300).

Parliament can either pass the bill as a whole, or adopt it in the first reading only, returning it to the responsible committee for additional work before the second reading (same committee procedure). There is also a third reading option, but was hardly ever used in the history of Rada.

5. Speaker’s signature

The adopted bill shall be signed by the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada.

6. President’s signature

The President either signs the adopted law or imposes veto.

7. Publication of the law

The signed laws are published in the official newspaper of the Verkhovna Rada and on its website. A law enters into force from the time of its publication, unless another period for entry into force is stipulated in the text of the law.

8. Implementation of the law

After a law is adopted, Cabinet of Ministers (the executive branch) is responsible for developing necessary by-laws for its implementation.

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