24 April 2024

International Trade Bulletin: Key Updates From Canada's 2024 Budget

Gowling WLG


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On April 16, 2024, the Liberal government released Budget 2024, bringing forth pertinent updates that may impact your business operations and investment strategies in Canada and internationally.
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On April 16, 2024, the Liberal government released Budget 2024, bringing forth pertinent updates that may impact your business operations and investment strategies in Canada and internationally. Below is a summary of five significant developments in trade, supply chain management and regulatory practices included in Budget 2024.

1. Enhanced trade remedy measures

To combat unfair trade practices and enhance market predictability, Budget 2024 allocates $10.5 million over three years to the Canada Border Services Agency. This funding is intended for the establishment of a Market Watch Unit, which will annually monitor and update trade remedy measures, with the goal of safeguarding Canadian businesses and workers. Importers of commodity and other products commonly subject to the trade remedy regime should review product subjectivity to ensure compliance.

2. Legislative measures against car thefts

The government has announced plans to amend the Radiocommunication Act. This amendment will regulate the sale and distribution of devices used in car thefts, enhancing law enforcement capabilities to address this issue. An additional $28 million has been allocated to strengthen the Canada Border Services Agency's ability to detect and search for stolen vehicles.

3. Commitment to eradicating forced labour

In response to ongoing human rights concerns, particularly regarding the treatment of Uyghurs and other minorities, the government reaffirms its commitment to eradicate forced labour from Canadian supply chains. Legislation slated for introduction in 2024 aims to strengthen the import ban on goods produced with forced labour and ensure compliance through mandatory annual reporting from Canadian entities. The forced labour regime is complex and time consuming and requires careful examination of supply chains to avoid significant disruptions to trade in goods and potential enforcement at the border.

4. National regulatory alignment

To address internal trade barriers, Budget 2024 outlines measures for harmonizing regulations across provinces and territories. This initiative aims to boost economic growth by increasing GDP per capita by up to 4 per cent. Significant steps include the removal of federal exceptions in procurement and the launch of the Canadian Internal Trade Data and Information Hub, which will provide valuable data to facilitate better investment and employment decisions across the nation.

5. Strengthening global trade relations

Canada continues to uphold and enhance its 15 free trade agreements with 51 countries. Recent activities include modernizing the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement and enhancing cooperation with G7 countries. Budget 2024 does not include any references to the Canada-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement, which was paused in January 2024 when British negotiators walked away from talks with Canada. However, Budget 2024 does reference the United Kingdom's ascension to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Additionally, the government's Indo-Pacific Strategy aims to bolster military and economic ties within the region, with substantial investments dedicated to enhancing Canada's naval presence and cyber security initiatives.

Budget 2024 also contains information on and announces measures relating to Canada's economic sanctions and anti-money laundering regimes, which have the potential to affect exports by Canadian companies and business with foreign trade partners. For more information on these topics, please see our Financial Services and Technology (FSxT) team's bulletin.

Our international trade and customs team at Gowling WLG remains committed to providing you with strategic guidance and updates on these developments. Please contact us for further details on how these policy changes may affect your business operations and for tailored advice on navigating the evolving trade landscape.

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