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Modernized Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement legislation introduced in the House of Commons

Oct 27, 2023 | Featured, Canada

New Pathway – Ukrainian News.

Canada was among the first developed nations to have a free trade agreement with Ukraine. The original Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA) entered into force on August 1, 2017, immediately eliminating tariffs on 86% of Canada’s merchandise exports to Ukraine. The tariffs will be eliminated by January 1, 2024, when all tariff schedules will have run their course.

In January 2022, Canada and Ukraine launched CUFTA modernization negotiations. The countries paused negotiations when Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 but resumed them in June 2022.

In April 2023, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal announced the conclusion of negotiations.

On September 22, 2023, Prime Minister Trudeau and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed the modernized CUFTA in Ottawa.

On October 17, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development, tabled the text of the modernized CUFTA in the House of Commons. Minister Ng concurrently also introduced Bill C-57, which, if adopted by Parliament, will implement the modernized Agreement in Canadian law.

The Hon. Mary Ng, Canada’s Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development introduces the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA) modernization legislation in the House of Commons. Behind Minister Ng is MP Yvan Baker (Etobicoke Centre). https://www.facebook.com/yvanbaker/

This week, Minister Ng spoke at second reading, and there were debates in the House during the week. As the Minister’s office explained to NP-UN, there are several steps still to be completed in the House and Senate before Royal Assent of Bill C-57.

As with the original 2017 Agreement, the modernized CUFTA remains a comprehensive agreement with respect to trade in goods that includes provisions aimed at eliminating tariffs and non-tariff measures.

The modernized CUFTA contains new dedicated chapters on trade in services, financial services, investment, temporary entry for business persons, telecommunications, and inclusive trade, as well as updated chapters on labour, environment, digital trade, and transparency and anti-corruption, among other areas.

New chapters on inclusive trade have been added to ensure that the benefits of CUFTA are more widely shared, including in the areas of:

  • small and medium-sized enterprises;
  • trade and gender,
  • and the first-ever trade and Indigenous Peoples chapter that Canada or Ukraine has ever included in a concluded free trade agreement.

Zenon Potichny, President of Canada-Ukraine Chamber of Commerce, told NP-UN that the inclusion of chapters on services, financial services, investment, and non-tariff barriers was the most important feature of the modernized CUFTA.

L-R: MP Yvan Baker; CUCC President Zenon Potichny; The Hon. Mary Ng, Canada’s Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development; Dr. Lesia Babiak, CUCC Board Member; Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada Yuliya Kovaliv. ttps://www.facebook.com/yvanbaker/

Potichny explained that the inclusion of services in the free trade agreement is important for Ukraine because IT services comprise a large and growing part of Ukraine’s economy.

Easening of transactions in financial services and investment is also important, given the need to rebuild Ukraine.

Removal of non-tariff barriers is vital for the trade and economic cooperation between the two countries. Bureaucratic hurdles have been a major obstacle to doing business between Canada and Ukraine. The new CUFTA chapters will streamline business between Canada and Ukraine, said Potichny.

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