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On January 19, 2019, Global Affairs Canada reported that the inaugural Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) Commission meeting was successfully concluded. The CPTPP Commission, consisting of representatives from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam (the countries for which the CPTPP has entered into force), met in Tokyo, Japan and concluded their session by issuing a Ministerial statement. The Commission meeting allowed CPTPP countries to chart a course for next steps as well as agree on a framework for the accession of new members. The Ministerial Statement follows:

On December 5, 2018, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) issued Customs Notice 18-22 Implementation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which announces that the CPTPP will be implemented in Canada, Australia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and Singapore on December 30, 2018. Additionally, the Agreement will enter into force for Vietnam on January 14, 2019. With the exception of a few agricultural goods, the CPTPP will essentially eliminate the customs duties on all qualifying imports into Canada from a country for which the CPTPP is in force (“CPTPP country”), either immediately upon implementation of the agreement, or through a tariff phase-out. At the time of issuance of CN 18-22, not all CPTPP member countries will have completed their domestic ratification process and identified an implementation date. As the remaining CPTPP member countries reach ratification and confirm an implementation date, a separate customs notice will be issued. The text of the CPTPP is available at the Global Affairs website.

On 12 November 2018 the Vietnam National Assembly officially ratified the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (“CPTPP”). The agreement has already been ratified by Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and Singapore and it will enter into force on 30 December 2018 in those countries.

On 25 October 2018, New Zealand formally ratified the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) bringing the number of ratifications to four. Canada cleared its last legislative hurdle when the Senate approved it on October 25 and Royal Assent was given the same day. Canada became the fifth to ratify when it notified New Zealand of its ratification on October 29, 2018. The Australian House and Senate also approved it and sent it to the Governor General who has given Royal Assent.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is moving forward and has gained momentum recently as Japan, Singapore and Mexico have ratified the 11-party agreement and Australia’s ratification is imminent because the deal recently passed both Houses of Parliament.  Canada is closing in on ratification as well.

On October 11, 2018, Global Affairs Canada published Notice to Importers: Item 82 – Steel Goods (Serial No. 911) which informs importers of the procedures governing the administration of provisional safeguards, in the form of tariff rate quotas (TRQ), for certain steel goods that are listed in item 82 on the Import Control List (ICL). These goods were added to the ICL to implement the Order Imposing a Surtax on the Importation of Certain Steel Goods (Surtax Order). The Surtax Order establishes provisional safeguards in the form of TRQs for steel goods matching the product descriptions specified in the column 2 of the Schedule to the Surtax Order, above which a twenty-five percent surtax will apply.

On September 1, 2018, the Canada Gazette published a notice from Global Affairs Canada stating that the Government of Canada is committed to fostering and strengthening Canada’s economic ties with its Asia-Pacific partners, including the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) [Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam] and is seeking the views of interested Canadian stakeholders on the scope of potential negotiations toward a possible free trade agreement (FTA) with ASEAN. Expanding and diversifying Canada’s trade with large, emerging markets such as ASEAN is a priority for the Government of Canada and contributes to Canada’s trade diversification strategy. The Government of Canada’s approach is one that puts the interests of Canadians and opportunities for the middle class, women, youth and Indigenous people front and centre.