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Woods, LaFortune LLP Chairs Session on Iran Sanction at Toronto Forum on Economic Sanctions Compliance & Enforcement

Posted by on Aug 31, 2018

Michael Woods has been invited to chair a panel on that will examine the implications of the recent divergence  between U.S. sanction regulations on Iran and those of Canada and the European Union as a result of U.S. withdrawal from 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (P5 + 1”). The conference, which is to be held in Toronto from September 24-26, is being organized by the Canadian Institute in collaboration with the American Conference Institute.  Leading trade practitioners from Canada, the United States, and Europe will be featured at the conference and Michael will be joined on the Iran sanctions panel by expert lawyers from the United States and the EU who will examine the intricacies of UN-driven and individual national sanctions and the issues of extraterritorial application and related “blocking” legislation.  For more about the conference see: https://www.canadianinstitute.com/4th-forum-economic-sanctions-compliance-enforcement/...

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Woods, LaFortune LLP Chairs CBA Webinar on the Intersection of International Trade Law and Aboriginal Law

Posted by on Aug 30, 2018

Michael Woods will serve as chair for the September 12, 2018 Intersection of International Trade Law and Aboriginal Law: Key concepts and recent developments, an upcoming Canadian Bar Association (CBA) webinar that will feature some of Canada’s leading experts in international trade law and aboriginal law. Vital issues including inter-tribal trade and the importance of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) will be examined.  Michael has devoted much time to the work of bringing the world of Indigenous Peoples and international trade closer together and is honoured to facilitate a review of critical jurisprudence including Huspacsath First Nation v. Canada, Grand River Enterprises Six Nations v. United States, and Tsilhqot’in v. British Columbia etc. The team of experts from private practice, academia, and government will speak about the latest in modern trade agreements and the place and role of Indigenous Peoples drawing on the recent NAFTA experience and other ongoing and future trade negotiations.  There is no charge to dial-in for CBA members – for futher details see:...

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Possible Canadian Safeguard Action Against Steel Imports: Steel Importers, Distributors Consumers and End-Users Should Take Action

Posted by on Aug 16, 2018

Canadian firms that import, distribute, or use steel and Canadian consumers who buy products that contain steel should pay close attention to the Government of Canada’s announcement that it is considering safeguard action, including the possibility of provisional safeguards, against imports of steel plate, concrete reinforcing bar, energy tubular products, hot-rolled sheet, pre-painted steel, stainless steel wire, and wire rod imported from all countries.  In most cases, if safeguard measures are adopted, duties or quotas or both would be assessed against these steel imports after a safeguard inquiry has been held.  But, in certain circumstances provisional safeguard measures could go into effect immediately while that inquiry is conducted.  Because the measures would restrict imports and increase costs, they would likely have a negative impact on importers, distributors, end-users and consumers. On August 14, 2018, the Government of Canada announced public consultations to seek views on whether it should take safeguard action, including potential provisional safeguards, against imports of the seven steel products.  The Government is taking this action to address concerns that the recent 25% U.S. additional duties on steel products will divert foreign steel destined for the U.S. to Canada and that this could result in an increase in steel in the Canadian market that will injure Canada’s domestic producers.  Canada is seeking views on whether safeguard action is warranted and, if so, on the appropriate remedy.  A copy of the Invitation to Submit Views can be found at https://www.fin.gc.ca/n18/data/18-071_1-eng.asp. Canada can take safeguard action to protect domestic producers.  Typically, if the Government believes that goods are being imported in increased quantities and under such conditions that they cause or threaten to cause serious injury to domestic producers the Canadian International Trade Tribunal will be directed to conduct a safeguard inquiry.  If the Tribunal finds that safeguards are warranted at the conclusion of that inquiry, it will make a recommendation on a remedy (i.e., duties, quotas or both) to the Minister of Finance who may then take action.  In these cases, safeguard measures would usually be imposed on all imports regardless of origin, but only after the inquiry has been conducted and all sides have been given an...

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Negotiation, Not Litigation is the Way to NAFTA Modernization

Posted by on Jul 30, 2018

Rather than just negotiate NAFTA modernization, the United States is trying to use additional illegal tariffs on steel and aluminum, and now WTO litigation, to force Canada to accept its NAFTA position.  The additional tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel are illegal because they exceed the U.S. WTO and NAFTA bound duty rates (i.e., the highest duty agreed between the Parties) and, thus, violate those Agreements. Canada retaliated against these U.S. tariffs with its own “dollar-for-dollar” tariffs on U.S. imports to rebalance the concessions made in the WTO and NAFTA Agreements which the U.S. additional tariffs have upset.  Canada has also challenged the U.S. decision to impose these additional tariffs at the WTO.  The U.S. has responded with its own request for WTO Dispute Settlement against Canada’s retaliatory duties.  However, the U.S. litigation is futile because the possibility of outright U.S. success is so slim that even a U.S. win would result in any change in Canada’s tariffs.  At the end of this process, the parties will be no further ahead and both will be hurt by this “tit-for-tat” protectionism. The current U.S. approach to trade appears to be based on the erroneous view that the WTO guarantees equality of outcome rather than equality of opportunities.  This error seems to be why the U.S. Administration focuses on trade flows as a measure of success with trade deficits as evidence of unbalanced trade.  However, the WTO, like all other trade agreements, does not guarantee that exporters or importer will engage in international trade or that they will make a profit.  Instead, trade agreements aim to liberalize trade between the Parties by reducing barriers to trade.  This trade liberalization is reflected in reduced tariff barriers between the partners and controls on non-tariff barriers that could be erected in their place.  Trade liberalization does not mean that all tariffs will be reduced to zero, although that may be an outcome.  Trade liberalization simply moves the parties in that direction through negotiation.  For example, the U.S. claim that Canada has high tariffs of up to 275% on some dairy products is correct.  The U.S. also has high tariffs, such as 350% duties on...

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Steel, Aluminum, and the WTO’s Pandora’s Box – Part IV – More Analysis at Slaw.ca

Posted by on Jul 3, 2018

The Government of Canada has finalized its countermeasures in response to U.S. Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum products: https://www.fin.gc.ca/access/tt-it/cacsap-cmpcaa-1-eng.asp https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/cn-ad/cn18-08-eng.html https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/dm-md/d16/d16-1-1-eng.html Canada also announced support measures for the industries affected by the U.S. tariffs: https://www.canada.ca/en/global-affairs/news/2018/06/support-for-canadian-steel-and-aluminum-workers-and-industry.html In the next few weeks, Michael Woods will be writing a series on the current state of Canada –U.S. trade on Canada’s online legal magazine Slaw.ca. Founded in 2005, Slaw is Canada’s largest co-operative legal publication attracting more than a million readers each year.  Michael and managing partner Gordon LaFortune are regular contributor as one of Slaw’s over sixty...

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Michael Woods Re-elected to FITT Board

Posted by on Jul 2, 2018

On June 28th the Forum for International Trade Training (FITT) confirmed that Michael Woods has been re-elected to serve a fourth term on the organization’s Board. FITT is a Canada based not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing international business training, resources and professional certification to individuals and businesses. It offers the only international business training programs and related professional designation (CITP/FIBP) endorsed by the World Trade Centers Association and the Government of Canada.  Michael is honoured to have been elected to his post by the FITT membership and looks forward to continuing his work with an organization whose international business training solutions have set the standard of excellence for global trade professionals across Canada and around the world. To learn more about FITT and its International Business Program — FITTskills  — see: http://www.fitt.ca/fittskills-faqs. During the last year the Board was engaged in the process that led to FITT’s formal partnership arrangement with Export Development Canada (EDC) aimed at delivering enhanced trade education to Canadian companies and trade professionals.  At the core of the partnership is the creation of the EDC-FITT International Trade Learning Centre (Centre) – a digital platform from which EDC and FITT will offer information, learning modules, and other knowledge-based resources focused on helping small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) go, grow and succeed internationally. The Centre will be fully operational in 2018.  The official announcement of the partnership was made at FITT’s international business conference, Your Future in Global Markets, which marked FITT’s 25-year...

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