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Implementation of CETA is imminent: Are you ready?

Author(s): Corinne Xu, Peter Glossop, Riyaz Dattu

May 29, 2017

Our last international trade brief dealt with Robert Lighthizer being sworn in as the U.S. Trade Representative, Chinese semiconductors potentially becoming the next target of a national security probe, and a Trade Case Alert involving a Canadian anti-dumping and countervailing investigation being initiated for silicon metal from various countries. In this brief, we discuss how the NAFTA renegotiations could impact Canadian businesses, the imminent implementation of the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, and a Trade Case Alert relating to Canadian anti-dumping duties being imposed for certain fabricated industrial steel components that can be anticipated to affect various infrastructure projects.

The federal legislation to implement Canada’s rights and commitments under the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA or Bill C-30) was granted Royal Assent on Tuesday, May 16. The Canadian government may now immediately proceed with the process of modifying Canada’s regulations to implement CETA, which will involve passing new regulations as well as amending existing ones.

The Parliamentary approval process was  uncontentious: Bill C-30 passed through the clause-by-clause consideration conducted by the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade (Committee) on Wednesday, May 10, without substantive debate on the provisions of the Bill. On Thursday, May 11, the Senate swiftly completed the Third Reading, passing the Bill without  amendments.

While most regulatory changes will be pre-published in Part I of the Canada Gazette for a short period of public review by affected stakeholders, some changes could be proclaimed as law in Part II of the Gazette without a public review process. Among others, Committee Chair Senator Raynell Andreychuk raised concerns with respect to the federal government’s implementation processes for CETA and called for increased transparency. These concerns are reflected in the Committee’s letter to the Senate, which calls for the development of a publicly accessible CETA implementation strategy, as well as more inclusive and extensive consultations with stakeholders affected by the regulatory changes required to implement the agreement.

As the European Union Parliament has approved CETA, Canada will now be in a position to exchange notices with the EU under CETA Article 30.7 (Final provisions – Entry into force and provisional application). The current expectation is that provisional application of CETA will commence as early as July 1, 2017.