This Trade Policy Review has proved to be a very open and productive
dialogue between Canada and its trading partners, in the true spirit
of the Trade Policy Review Mechanism. This was made possible by the
full engagement and good humour of the Canadian delegation, led by
Mr. Randle Wilson and Ambassador Sergio Marchi, the insightful
comments by our discussant, Ambassador Stefßn Jˇhannesson, and the
active involvement of a great many Members. I would also like to
commend the Canadian delegation for providing written answers to
advance questions at the start of our first session on Wednesday, and
for the additional documentation which they made available today.
Canada was commended for its strong economic performance since its
previous Review, in spite of a world economic slowdown. Canada's
efforts in implementing economic reforms, and the openness and
transparency of its trade regime were credited for this result.
Noting that its trade was concentrated on a few preferential trading
partners, and in particular on the United States, Members invited
Canada to seek trade diversification.
Canada's strong commitment to the work of the WTO was acknowledged.
Members praised Canada's involvement in the DDA and its initiative to
enhance access to its market for exports from LDCs. Canada's
contribution to technical assistance programmes for developing
countries was also highly commended. Some Members asked Canada to
consider expanding the coverage of its GPT treatment. Canada was also
urged to ensure that its growing number of preferential trade
agreements was supportive of multilateral liberalization.
Access to the Canadian market is generally liberal, but a number of
barriers remain. While Canada's average MFN tariff has decreased
slightly, Members expressed concern about tariff peaks and tariff
escalation. Concerning non-tariff measures, Members noted the strict
use of sanitary and phytosanitary measures by Canada, which could
result in barriers or increased costs for exporters from other
The number and duration of anti-dumping investigations and measures in
Canada were of concern to a number of Members. It was noted that the
mere threat of an investigation or the imposition of provisional
duties could act as a deterrent to trade. Members showed interest in
the exclusion of anti-dumping in the Canada-Chile free trade
agreement, with some considering that the application of different
rules to imports from preferential partners could lead to
discrimination among suppliers. Members also expressed concern with
respect to Canada's safeguard investigation on some steel products.
While commending Canada for the transparency of its government
procurement regime and its active role in the GPA Committee, some
Members invited Canada to table an offer at the sub-federal level.
The use of regional and local preferences for procurement not covered
by the GPA was queried.
Many Members considered that Canada's restrictive marketing
arrangements and local content requirements could affect access for
foreign wines and other alcoholic beverages. The issue was also
raised of provincial assistance programmes, notably in primary
sectors, and of various export programmes, including those of Export
Development Canada. Also noted were aspects of intellectual property
rights, including enforcement, ratification of treaties, compulsory
licensing, patenting of life forms, copyright reform, and geographical
On sectoral policies, Members noted the protection granted to the
steel industry through contingency measures. In the textiles and
clothing industry, some participants observed that market access
remained restricted by high tariffs and quotas, while rules of origin
favoured particular trading partners. Information was exchanged about
measures to help the industry prepare for the removal of quotas by the
end of 2004.
Canada's objectives to reduce market distortions to agricultural trade
in the WTO were appreciated. However, foreign access restrictions in
the supply-managed dairy, poultry and egg sectors persisted, including
through high out-of-quota tariff rates and low volume commitments.
The Canadian Dairy Commission's de facto import monopoly on butter,
and the export privileges of the Canadian Wheat Board were also
Canada's trade regime in services was described as generally liberal,
and participants welcomed recent reforms, notably in banking. The
provincial and federal regulation for insurance services was the
subject of several interventions. Members also sought Canada's views
on developing GATS rules regarding air transport, and expressed hope
that Canada would expand its commitments in maritime transport. Calls
were made for the removal of remaining restrictions on foreign
investment in the telecommunications sector, which we know are under
review. Some Members considered that Canada's audio-visual sectors
should not be, as a whole, exempt from WTO disciplines.
Members also made comments and sought further clarification on a
number of specific areas including:
harmonization under the Agreement on Internal Trade;
foreign investment restrictions and review provisions;
local content or processing requirements in forestry and mining;
restrictions on trade in bulk horticultural products; and
barriers to entry of natural persons in services.
The replies provided by the delegation of Canada have made a major
contribution to this Review. Members clearly appreciated these
This brings us to the conclusion of the seventh Review of Canada. We
can all attest to Canada's long-standing commitment to transparency
and to the multilateral trading system. A liberal trade regime and
sound economic policies have allowed Canada to improve its living
standards continuously, even in the face of a global economic
slowdown. However, significant policy-induced distortions still
affect a few domestic activities, not only imposing costs on Canadians
at large but also undermining Canada's otherwise firm efforts to
eliminate inefficiencies in global markets. I believe that Canada's
ongoing efforts to move forward its domestic reform programme will be
buttressed by our joint multilateral endeavours, to the benefit of