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MP-Report

Protecting Canadian manufacturers

Ensuring Canadian Manufacturers Are Not Put At A Disadvantage

In the early 1970s, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) recommended that developed economies grant autonomous and non-reciprocal tariff preferences to developing countries in order to increase their export earnings, promote their industrialization, and promote their economic growth.

Canada’s General Preferential Tariff (GPT) for developing countries was implemented in 1974.

Under the GPT, Canada currently offers duty-free or preferential market access to imports of most products from 175 designated beneficiaries, including countries like China, India, Brazil and South Korea. 

To give you an idea of what that means in dollars terms, in 2011, imports under the GPT treatment totalled $15.2 billion.  

The global economic landscape has changed considerably since 1974, including significant shifts in the income levels and trade competitiveness of certain developing countries.

China, one of the current recipients of the GPT, now has an economy over four times larger than our economy, with a value of $7,318 billion compared to Canada’s $1,736 billion. 

With the program due to expire on June 30, 2014, and in an effort to respond to these changes, Economic Action Plan 2012 announced that the Government was undertaking a comprehensive review of the GPT to ensure that this form of development assistance aligned with Canada’s development policy objectives. 

As such, the Government sought consultation on its intention to modify the list of beneficiary countries by withdrawing GPT treatment from countries that:

  • Are classified for two consecutive years as high income or upper-middle income economies according to the latest World Bank income classifications; or
  • Have a share of world exports that is equal to or greater than 1% for two consecutive years according to the latest World Trade Organization trade statistics.

Despite the partisan outrage that amending the list of countries which receive the GPT is a tax grab, our Government has been clear that it is not prepared to support outdated special tax treatments that gives our competitors a distinct advantage over Canadian manufacturers.

The remedy, in fact, is for these countries to pursue free trade agreements with Canada, which would provide better tariff treatment than the GPT. 

As a member of the Standing Committee on International Trade for the past seven years, I can attest to the fact that, through the hard work of our International Trade Minister Ed Fast, Canada remains fully committed to the successful completion of all ongoing free trade agreement negotiations and the active pursuit of new and deeper trading relationships. 

As for you, the consumer, our Government has cut tariffs by almost $600 million in an effort to bring prices of goods down.  In addition, our Government has cut taxes over 150 times, saving the average family $3,200 per year.

The Opposition can continue to be critical of changes to the GPT, but in doing so they need to explain to local manufacturers in Kelowna-Lake Country and across the country why any Government worth its salt would continue to give our major competitors special access to the Canadian market, putting our own Canadian companies and workers at a clear disadvantage. 

Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country and welcomes your feedback at [email protected].  Information on local announcements and federal government programs can be found at www.cannan.ca.



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About the Author

The Honourable Ron Cannan was first elected as Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country in January, 2006. He was subsequently elected in the 2008 and 2011 federal elections. He is a member of the Conservative Caucus.

On September 13th, 2012 Ron was summoned to be a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and will provide advice to the Government as a member of the Priorities and Planning Sub-Committee on Government Administration.

Ron successfully uses his experience and knowledge as a long-time Kelowna City Councillor and regional government representative to be an effective and enthusiastic champion for his riding and his constituents.

His greatest satisfaction comes from helping local organizations and citizens obtain the support they require from Ottawa. 

He is also dedicated to doing what it takes to ensure that the growing and vibrant communities in his riding continue to thrive and prosper.

He is proud of the partnership and cooperation between federal, provincial and municipal governments which have resulted in significant infrastructure projects including upgrades to Highway 97, expansion of the Kelowna International Airport, a new horticulture strategy for fruit growers, obtaining a full service passport office for Kelowna and addressing critical economic issues such as labour skills shortages.

He works closely with the local Chambers of Commerce and once a year arranges meetings for the Chamber with Cabinet Ministers and senior policy staff in Ottawa to move forward important local issues such as crime prevention and labour skills shortages.

He is also an ardent champion for important community initiatives including homelessness, mental health, women’s resources, and support of arts and culture.

On Parliament Hill, Ron has been a member of the Standing Committee on International Trade since 2006 supporting initiatives which will broaden the economic opportunities for local businesses and businesses Canada-wide.

In previous parliamentary sessions Ron has been a member of the Standing Committee for Government Operations and Estimates, Veteran’s Affairs, Human Resources and Social Development, the Scrutiny of Regulations Committee, and the Standing Committee for Fisheries and Oceans.

Ron is also involved in a variety of inter-parliamentary organizations: he is Vice Chair of the Canada-US Inter-Parliamentary Group, and a member of the Canada-Taiwan Friendship group.

As Chair of the Conservative Wine Caucus, Ron works with his colleagues across the country to promote the wine regions of Canada.  Ron tabled Motion 218(formerly Motion 601) which supports direct to consumer purchasing of Canadian wine. His motion became Bill C-311, sponsored by MP Dan Albas, seconded by Ron, which was passed into law on June 28th, 2012.

Prior to entering politics, Ron developed a diverse business background as a small business owner and had several years experience in marketing and sales management working with corporations including Coca-Cola, Costco and Corus Entertainment.
 

Very active in his community, Ron has been a Director for both the Central Okanagan Regional District and the Central Okanagan Hospital Board. Ron also served on the Okanagan University College Access to Training Advisory Board, the Glenmore Elementary School Parents Advisory Council, and the Kelowna Christian School Fund Raising Committee. He was co-founder of the Okanagan Volunteer Festival. Currently Ron is a member of the Sunrise Rotary Club of Kelowna and, along with his wife Cindy, was the honorary Chair of the 2012 Canadian Cancer Society Daffodil Ball.

Ron lives a family-oriented and active lifestyle with his wife Cindy. He is the proud father of three daughters and grandfather to three grandsons. His hobbies include music and sports.



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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