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Michael Woods Participates in CBA Demarch on Canada’s Proposed Sanctions Legislation

Posted by on Jun 1, 2023

Concerned by the Government of Canada’s recently proposed amendments to the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA) and the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law) (Magnitsky Act) in Bill C-47, the Budget Implementation Act 2023, No. 1 (Bill C-47),[1] the International Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA Section) has filed a submission with the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance.[2]  Bill C-47 is intended to make consequential amendments with respect to commitments made by the Government in its 2023 Budget. Michael Woods is  an active member has participated in the several CBA with other trade lawyers.  This has included sessions, collaboration on preparation of the brief, and meetings with officials from Global Affairs Canada.  In its brief (see footnote 2), the  CBA pointed out that the proposed amendments  include phrasing that it is “highly subjective and may lead to inconsistent outcomes.”  Canada’s trade law bar is looking for increased the predictability and certainty but takes the view that that Canada’s sanction regime is actually causing  increasing “confusion and compliance challenges.  As per the brief: To date, no guidance has been issued by Global Affairs Canada despite repeated and long-standing requests from the [association], trade lawyers and the business community.   _______ [1] Government Bill (House of Commons) C-47 (44-1) – First Reading – Budget Implementation Act, 2023, No. 1 – Parliament of Canada; see also Bill C-47: An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 28, 2023 (justice.gc.ca) and C-47 (44-1) – LEGISinfo – Parliament of Canada [2] Improving-the-Economic-Sanctions-Regime; revised submission at CBA...

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From Global Capitals to Canada’s Capital

Posted by on Oct 7, 2022

Michael Woods is one of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law alumni featured on its website (https://www.law.utoronto.ca/) in the career section.  Michael is a graduate of the class of on 1976. The UofT’s Faculty of Law is one of the oldest professional faculties at the university (established in 1887) and prides itself as one of the world’s leading law schools (see: https://www.law.utoronto.ca/news/u-t-law-ranked-in-top-10-global-law-schools-times-higher-education-world-university-rankings).  In the field of international law and policy, the faculty boasts leading academics in international, comparative, and transnational legal studies who are developing concrete and comprehensive responses to the challenges of globalization. In the websites section focusing on Careers in International Law,  Michael recalls his varied international trade experiences including diplomatic postings, his time at HQ representing Canada in trade negotiations and disputes, and his successful move to private practice.  From global capitals to Canada’s capital: Alumnus Michael Woods writes to us about his international career path | University of Toronto Faculty of Law (utoronto.ca). In his contribution, Michael underlines the importance of the UofT to his career – both the education and the vital...

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Michael Woods Invited to Canada’s Celebration of the Indigenous Peoples Economic and Trade Cooperation Arrangement

Posted by on Jun 20, 2022

The Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, Mary Ng, has invited Michael Woods to events on June 22nd and 23rd in Gatineau, Québec, organized by Global Affairs Canada to celebrate Canada’s endorsement of the Indigenous Peoples Economic and Trade Cooperation Arrangement (IPETCA).  [https://www.canada.ca/en/global-affairs/news/2021/12/canada-endorses-indigenous-peoples-economic-and-trade-cooperation-arrangement.html;   see also: https://twitter.com/CanadaTrade/status/1469384046304186370 ] The IPECA is an APEC initiative [ Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (apec.org)].  In February 2021, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Chinese Taipei and other APEC economies began work towards developing the IPETCA with the focus on the economic empowerment of Indigenous peoples in the Asia- Pacific region. On December 10, 2021, the Arrangement was concluded and APEC countries were invited to join.  Canada endorsed the IPETCA the same day.  This new and innovative plurilateral Arrangement intended to create a framework for economies and Indigenous peoples to work together to increase trade and economic cooperation. [ For more details see our website notes – Search for IPETCA – Woods, LaFortune LLP (wl-tradelaw.com)] [The text of the Arrangement –  Indigenous-Peoples-Economic-and-Trade-Cooperation-Arrangement-IPETCA-FINAL-VERSION.pdf (mfat.govt.nz) ] Michael is a member of the select group which advised the Government of Canada on the negotiations with respect to Indigenous objectives. He was also involved in discussions with Indigenous representatives from other APEC economies during the process.  This advisory group is scheduled to have a special session with Minister Ng following a Sacred Fire Ceremony at sunrise on June 23rd.  The Celebration will close with an Endorsement Ceremony featuring Indigenous, Inuit, and Métis participants.  The Celebration will kick-off with an Indigenous Trade Symposium on the afternoon of June 22nd.   For more information see: Tune in live at 2 pm ET on Wednesday, June 22 for the #IPETCA Indigenous Trade Symposium and at 9 am ET on Thursday, June 23 for the ceremony. pic.twitter.com/CLAgu0UokJ — Canada Trade (@CanadaTrade) June 20, 2022 Canada Trade on Twitter...

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Understanding and Responding to the Business Risk of Russian Sanctions

Posted by on Apr 7, 2022

Anyone following the news knows that Russia is now the world’s most sanctioned country and that the sanctions are intended to cause Russia so much economic pain that it will withdraw from Ukraine.  Canada has joined other countries in imposing sanctions on Russia and Russians under the Special Economic Measures Act, the Customs Tariff, and the Export and Import Permits Act and has indicated that it will impose more sanctions if necessary.[1] In addition to the political objective of Russian withdrawal from Ukraine, the sanctions have also affected business by either prohibiting the business outright or by increasing the cost of doing business.  Thus, sanctions may affect Canadians or Canadian companies that do business with Russia or Russians depending on the nature of that business.   Because some traders may try to get around the sanctions, Canadians and Canadian companies may find themselves unintentionally violating the sanctions by importing Russian goods or by unintentionally doing business with Russian companies or individuals. Regardless of their objective, the sanctions pose a business risk for Canadians and Canadian companies that should not be ignored.  To reduce or eliminate that risk, any Canadian or Canadian company doing business in Russia or with Russians or intending to do business in Russia or with Russians, should take steps to understand their exposure to the sanctions.  To do this, we suggest the following: i)   Review the sanctions to determine whether they could affect your current or planned business with Russia or with Russians. A brief overview of Canada’s sanctions in place at the time of writing, including the penalties for violating those sanctions and potential for continuing business despite the sanctions, is discussed in the attached Annex. ii)   Review your business operations to determine whether you are currently doing business in Russia or conducting business that involves Russian goods, investment, financing, banking transactions, or transportation more broadly to determine whether that business could violate the sanctions. iii)  Review your operations or business in other countries to determine whether they have any connections with Russia or Russians that could trigger penalties under Canadian sanctions or sanctions that may be imposed by that other country. iv)  Consider your practices...

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“A New Era for Trade” – Woods, LaFortune LLP Interviewed re Russian Sanctions and Related Trade Measures

Posted by on Mar 25, 2022

In his March 23rd article in the Canadian Bar Association’s National, veteran journalist Alan Freeman quoted both Gordon LaFortune and Michael Woods with respect to the urgent and pressing matter of the new waves of sanctions and other trade measures, “unprecedented in their scale and speed and the concerted action among the Western economies.”  The article highlights the new risks that business face and the need to ensure compliance.  See –   National – A new era for trade...

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Michael Woods Invited to Participate in CUSMA Dialogue

Posted by on Mar 24, 2022

Michael Woods has been invited to the first Canada United States Mexico Agreement CUSMA  Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Dialogue on , April 22, 2022, in San Antonio, Texas. The event will bring together SME stakeholders, including those from underrepresented communities for discussions with government officials to discuss strengthening regional trade and investment under CUSMA, enhancing cooperation on issues of mutual interest to SMEs, and helping more small businesses benefit from the CUSMA. The SME Dialogue is convened annually on a rotating basis among the three CUSAM partners. The first CUSMA SME Dialogue is being hosted by the United States together the University of Texas San Antonio Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the International Trade Center, and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s U.S. Export Assistance Center. The agenda includes a review of  small business trade resources for exporting and importing under CUSMA; SMEs sharing their best practices for trading across Canada, the U.S. and Mexico; and small business COVID-19 recovery resources. Michael was a member of the private sector SME “Working Group” that met with Global Affairs Canada negotiators  during the CUSMA negotiations.  The negotiations led to the precedent-setting SME Chapter [ Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) – Chapter 25 – Small and medium-sized enterprises (international.gc.ca) ] and other measures designed to increase trade opportunities for North American SMEs [  https://www.international.gc.ca/trade-commerce/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/agr-acc/cusma-aceum/business-commerce.aspx?lang=eng...

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