Thank you, Madam Chair and committee members, for the invitation to take part in your meeting today on reforming the World Trade Organization.
The Business Council of Canada is composed of 150 chief executives and entrepreneurs of Canada's leading enterprises. Our members directly and indirectly support more than six million jobs across the country and hundreds of thousands of small businesses. Representing different industries and regions, these men and women are united in their commitment to improve the quality of life for all Canadians.
We are a trading nation. Our prosperity and living standards depend on trade, and 65% of our GDP is tied directly to it. The postwar rules-based system under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade—and now its successor, the World Trade Organization—propelled economic growth and facilitated the expansion of our firms into new markets. Throughout this period, global merchandise trade grew by an average of six per cent a year among its members. Today, WTO members account for 98% of global trade.
While bilateral deals, including NAFTA—now CUSMA, the CPTPP and CETA, have helped to grow the pie, many of our firms continue to rely on the global system for access to critical markets and to ensure there are common, predictable and enforceable rules around the world. As Canada looks to rebuild its battered economy, the global system will be even more important for Canadian exporters to succeed in the post-pandemic world. Merchandise exports to the world fell by 12.3% in 2020, a decline of $70 billion.
As with any relevant organization, the WTO requires both maintenance and modernization. Unfortunately, because of disagreements around key elements like dispute settlement, we have not been able to advance this organization for some time.
Given the recent challenges it has faced, some have even questioned the long-term viability of the WTO. However, Canada has not. In an effort to be constructive and to provide steps toward modernization, Canada took the lead by creating the Ottawa Group. With EU members, Japan, Australia and other countries on board, the Ottawa Group represents a critical mass of like-minded partners that are serious about reforming the system.
Canada played another important role in establishing the multi-party interim appeal arbitration arrangement, the MPIA, which includes many Ottawa Group members and several countries outside that group. The MPIA is a critical stopgap measure to ensure that the WTO dispute settlement mechanism continues to function in several leading economies, but we know this is not an alternative to WTO reform.
The Business Council of Canada has been supportive of both the Ottawa Group and the MPIA. For the past year, our president and CEO, Goldy Hyder, has proudly served as WTO business advisory council co-chair to the . In this capacity, we have supported the government in its effort to drive more private sector engagement in Canada and with our international business counterparts in the Ottawa Group process.
Last year we organized round tables on issues including e-commerce and dispute settlement. The latter included high-level participation from the U.S. private sector, a key stakeholder if we are to achieve meaningful WTO reform.
Dispute settlement is by no means the only thing the WTO does, but because of long-standing disagreements over its function, it has become a roadblock to moving the rest of the organization forward. It is critical that we bring the U.S. back to the table. We believe Canada and the Ottawa Group are well positioned to do that. Early signs from the Biden administration, such as its support for the new director general and openness from Congress, are encouraging. At the same time, many of my counterparts in the U.S. consider WTO reform and restoring its functionality a priority.
The council and its members are eager to support efforts to engage the U.S. government and the private sector to achieve reform. If we work together in good faith, I believe we can overcome our disagreements.
Beyond repairing dispute settlement, the WTO needs to change with the rapidly evolving global economy. As an example, we believe recent developments, such as the WTO joint statement initiative on e-commerce negotiations, can liberalize and create a level playing field for Canadian firms in fast-growing areas of our economy, including digital trade and e-commerce. We were pleased to join the International Chamber of Commerce and a wide group of international business groups in a letter supporting these negotiations earlier this year.
In conclusion, Canadian business leaders value the role the WTO plays in our economy, and they support reform and modernization to ensure that it remains a relevant institution. We encourage Canada to continue its important work within the Ottawa Group.
I thank you for the opportunity to speak here today, and look forward to answering your questions.
Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for inviting me to participate in today's discussion. It's my pleasure to be here on behalf of Canada's 90,000 manufacturers and exporters and our association's 2,500 direct members to discuss World Trade Organization reform.
Our association’s members cover all sizes of companies from all regions of the country and all industrial sectors. We represent the majority of Canada’s manufacturing output as well as Canada’s value-added exports.
Manufacturers are some of Canada’s largest exporters, and global trade is the lifeblood of our sector. The manufacturing process relies on global supply chains to source and to make all the goods that the planet needs.
Our sector sells products to every corner of the earth, sustains good, high-paying jobs in Canada and creates wealth and prosperity for all Canadians. Therefore, the WTO and standardized global trading norms more broadly are critically important to managing the trade that our industry and our economy rely on.
Since its inception, the WTO has been instrumental in setting the rules for global commerce and for resolving disputes that arise while conducting business abroad. It has been a singular achievement and has established an international framework for productive and peaceful international trade.
This doesn’t mean we haven’t encountered problems along the way. Our research shows that Canada’s share of global exports started to decline around the same time that China was admitted to the WTO at the beginning of the century. Having such a negative and large player enter the club meant that Canada and its allies were at a cost disadvantage overnight.
Once legitimized by WTO membership, China increasingly became an indispensable part of global supply chains, and we are inextricably linked to it today as a result. The WTO’s handling of the China question will undoubtedly define its future and the future of the global trading order.
In any event, a lot of time has passed since the WTO’s inception in the nineties. Much as NAFTA started to show its age before we moved on to CUSMA, the WTO is now clearly in the same situation. Worse, the dysfunction we’ve seen in recent years at the WTO threatens its very existence and makes reform of the organization not a “nice to have” but a “must do”.
CME supports the WTO and its necessary reform and is especially appreciative of our government’s efforts at modernization, through the Ottawa Group. It is an example of global leadership, and we commend for spearheading this initiative.
For too long, everyone around the globe has whined about the WTO, but this push is the only real effort to actually do something about it. CME is proud to be part of this work, and it is definitely something we hope to support in the years ahead.
Because of the work of the Ottawa Group, we believe Canada is now in a position to play a larger role in the reform movement. Canadian manufacturers and exporters believe the following principles and areas of focus should be included in the WTO reform agenda:
Number one would be to strengthen the WTO’s monitoring function. This is a core responsibility of that body. The WTO is meant to police actors and ensure countries are living up to the rules and standards of their trade agreements. Transparency is key. Without it, actors can be tempted to use trade-distorting practices. Without proper monitoring and the production of real trade data, these distortionary actions are easier to slip in. Therefore, a robust and enhanced monitoring ability would keep everyone honest and potentially avoid having to resort to, and overburden, frankly, the dispute resolution mechanisms of the WTO.
Number two would be to strengthen those dispute settlement mechanisms. When monitoring and mitigation fail, the dispute settlement mechanisms need to be able to resolve disputes between trading parties quickly and fairly, with emphasis added on “quickly”. Before the appellate body atrophied last year, it was still taking years for decisions to wind their way through the system. This creates the incentive for bad actors to exploit and game the system and intentionally bog down disputes because it’s in their interests to do so. More concerning, it removes consistency and stability for business, and the trade ecosystem suffers as a result.
Number three would be to modernize trade rules to avoid falling further behind. Because there's been a lack of consensus on how to update global trade rules, countries have gone about resolving those issues in bilateral or multilateral trade deals, like Canada has. If the WTO cannot keep up, it will inevitably be left in the dust.
Canadian manufacturers and their global peers run into so many issues when trading abroad: unfair competition from state-owned enterprises, dumping, currency manipulation, industrial subsidies and trade barriers more generally. This is in addition to global trade rules not coming to terms with broader issues like digital trade, sustainable development and environmental regulations. In order to tackle all these issues, Canada should seek consensus with like-minded countries and prioritize which challenges to address first, and then update those rules accordingly.
To recap, WTO modernization efforts must focus on strengthening monitoring and dispute resolution mechanisms, and work with like-minded nations to update the rules.
However, as you've heard me say here before, while WTO reform work is very important to Canadian manufacturers and exporters, we still have the problem of our domestic industry's increasing inability to take advantage of global trade. Canada's manufacturer exporters are too small, and at full capacity. Generally speaking, a higher proportion of Canada's businesses are small SMEs than is the case for most of our global competitors. From a fundamental, structural perspective, then, we need to get our companies to invest in their businesses and help them grow and scale up. Larger companies are simply better positioned to take advantage of global trade.
The Canadian government is uniquely positioned to help in this way by continuing to support exporters through its various agencies, but also by investing in mentorship and trade skills training. We need to increase our production capacity and our domestic trade expertise to tackle this problem.
In conclusion, CME strongly supports Canada's efforts and leadership in WTO reform. This is not some arcane, theoretical exercise. It has real-world consequences, and will only become more important if we see these retrenchment trends in global trade, as a result of the pandemic, continue. A strong, rules-based enforcement body such as the WTO will be even more necessary in that scenario. However, it is all moot if we do not help Canadian industry first, at home. Only then will we be able to reap the benefits of global trade and thrive.
Thank you again for inviting me. I look forward to the discussion.
Good afternoon and thank you, Madam Chair and honourable members, for the opportunity to present the views of the Centre for International Governance Innovation, or CIGI, on World Trade Organization reform.
As you've heard, the WTO faces many challenges. Indeed, it is experiencing a crisis of legitimacy in each of its three core functions—negotiation, dispute settlement and transparency. More generally, the WTO finds itself struggling to respond effectively to the challenges of rapid economic, political, social and technological changes.
Multilateralism and rules-based trade co-operation are critical for Canada’s prosperity and relations with the world. As a middle power with a trade-dependent economy, Canada has both the incentive and the capacity to contribute enlightened ideas and to advance novel reform initiatives to the WTO. As we have also heard, Canada has done so with the creation and leadership of the Ottawa Group to guide WTO reform efforts.
I will first provide specific reform ideas within each of the WTO’s three core functions. Then I'll turn to areas where trade rules need to be modernized. More detail is provided in the background brief and in the CIGI WTO reform essay series that can be found on our website.
First, on the negotiation role, the WTO today is negotiating on a wide range of issues. Indeed, the trade governance agenda is almost entirely a “trade and” agenda, with a daunting list of “ands”. They include labour, gender, indigenous peoples, climate change and the environment, data, digital issues, e-commerce, human rights, development and intellectual property. It's hard to visualize the WTO dealing with these issues in their entirety, much less adjudicating disputes around them.
CIGI suggests that member states reinvent the WTO by abandoning the effort to manage so many “behind the border” issues that cover such disparate elements of economic and social policy. The “single undertaking” approach, whereby all manner of topics were pooled to make broad-based progress while allowing for trade-offs between them, should be ended.
Nevertheless, the WTO must continue to monitor these diverse areas. Indeed, all WTO member countries could be mandated and provided incentives to report trade impact assessments on these “and” issues to develop a better database for measuring the distributive consequences of trade measures. The WTO must also place a greater focus on facilitating negotiations and increasing barrier-free trade.
Although multilateralism is best, in current circumstances, a plurilateral approach is more workable and can help to build consensus among like-minded countries. An example of such an approach was the agreement of Canada, Chile and New Zealand on issues of trade and indigenous peoples.
The WTO can also work better with other international organizations—other stakeholders—and can create expert groups to develop consensus on technical issues. Bringing in the Group of Twenty, the G20, might be useful in helping to choose among the options and set a realistic course for WTO modernization. The G20 could also be used to achieve consensus and reach compromise on key issues over which the WTO is negotiating, and to help develop a new program of work for the WTO.
I will now turn to the dispute settlement system that has understandably attracted much attention. The impasse over the Appellate Body threatens the whole system and distracts from discussion of other improvements that would make the dispute settlement system more inclusive and effective for many members. In fact, for many WTO members, the WTO functions well.
The problem of the dispute settlement system stems from the relationship between the first stage in dispute resolution, which is the WTO panels, and the next stage, which is the Appellate Body. The standard for Appellate Body review should be reshaped more towards a deferential one, in which the reasoning and findings of panels are respected when they are of a bilateral nature—less involving third party interests—and those relating to technical matters.
While there's hope that the Appellate Body issue may be resolved with the appointment of a new director general, while it continues not to function there are other solutions. We've heard that Canada, with the EU and other countries, agreed to the multi-party interim appeal arbitration arrangement. In addition, members could follow no-appeal agreements and use dispute settlement mechanisms in other trade agreements.
Turning to the third core function of monitoring, effective trade co-operation depends upon information sharing of national measures that might affect trade. The current paralysis in the WTO is caused in part by insufficient information on which to pursue informed negotiations and deliberations.
Government notifications remain the most important source of information, and many governments face capacity challenges in complying with these requirements. Notifications can be improved by ensuring that information requirements are fit for purpose, and by providing support for building governments' capacity to gather and share information. The secretariat could also be tasked to compile this information. China presents a special case, especially with its subsidies notifications, but it could be encouraged to centralize notifications, make them in the original language and have other members “counter notify” China's measures from their own sources.
Then, the WTO trade policy reviews could be improved by making their timing more flexible, their content more targeted and detailed, and their discussions more probing.
Let me now turn to three areas in which trade rules need updating.
The first is development and trade. Addressing development issues will be important to successful WTO reform, including ways to provide flexibility in the rules for developing countries commensurate with their level of development, and building their capacity to take on new commitments. There is a need to encourage efforts to find solutions-oriented approaches to the controversial issue of developing country status and eligibility for special and differential treatment.
Next is digital trade. The digital transformation and the data-driven economy call into question numerous aspects of the WTO system. Digital trade goes well beyond e-commerce. It includes cross-border data flows, with implications for data and AI governance, competition, privacy, intellectual property and other areas. Much of the technical regulation in these areas must be developed through parallel processes outside the WTO and then fed into WTO negotiations.
We must also be wary of using regional trade agreements that can act as stepping stones into other policy spaces and become a multilateral standard. More generally, the WTO should not be the organization that determines the division of rents in the intangibles economy. Here, I would refer committee members to remarks I made to this committee on CUSMA in February 2020 in this area.
Finally, I will turn to what's referred to as TRIPS, the trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights.
During decades of negotiation, all parties have recognized that the world trade system could not function without integrating intellectual property. The advent of artificial intelligence and the explosion of cross-border data flows changes the economics of innovation and the nature of trade, and thus requires a rethinking of TRIPS. This could be done in conjunction with the World Intellectual Property Organization and other international bodies, which could then feed into the implications for trade by the WTO.
In conclusion, there are many strategic choices awaiting the WTO. At the same time, it is important to keep in mind that the WTO's enduring strength is as a form of compromise, where consensus results are not always economically or politically optimal.
Thank you for your attention. I would be pleased to answer any questions you may have.
Thank you to the witnesses, Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Poirier and Mr. Fay.
Regarding the WTO, of course, we hear about problems. We hear about dispute settlements, negotiation function, transparency and accountability or notifications. Canada has stepped up with many countries. They share the same worries, on probably different agendas, to be able to somehow counter and try to lobby for an improvement to the system, fixing the system and doing something about the existing problems that the WTO is going through.
China is a big player now, of course, besides the United States. It seems that the big economies are somehow trying to eat the lunch of the others in one way or another. That's appearing here and there in different fashions. Canada took the initiative with the Ottawa Group and is working on an MPIA to somehow improve the system.
My question to the three witnesses is, what other options do countries like Canada have? Do we have an option, through specific legislation, to somehow change course? That will, of course, lead to pre-negotiation on any trade agreements or on any future relationships when it comes to trade relationships.
Do we have an option to change legislation in Canada in order to be able to change the course over things that happen with the WTO?
I'm happy for any of you to start, but if I can choose, let's start with Mr. Kennedy.
My next question goes to all the witnesses.
We understand the importance of the Dispute Settlement Body, which is based on a principle of justice, that all countries, small and large alike, have the same status in a dispute that needs to be decided. We have examples of small countries managing to win against larger countries, which is very good in a global context.
But could there still be a problem with the approach?
In fact, we have seen examples that lead us to question the way in which the Dispute Settlement Body has come to its decisions. I am thinking, for example, about the energy program that Ontario established and that had requirements favouring local companies and local workers. The project made good sense at a time when we were rediscovering local purchasing and the importance of generating economic activity at home. But Japan and the European Union won against Canada before the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body.
So, setting the tool aside, should the approach be reviewed?
Certainly. What I was referring to were Canada's big trade support agencies, such as the EDC's trade commissioner service and those agencies. We've found that our members and exporters who use those services really like them; they're very helpful, and they do the job. The problem is that when we survey our membership, most of the membership does not know that these places exist, let alone the specific programs you've just mentioned, which are very helpful.
There's been a retrenchment over the last number of years on having people from these agencies embedded, whether it's with us in the trade association or on the ground, and having offices where people can walk in and talk to someone in person. That has been pulled back quite considerably.
We could pretty much track where that sort of aimlessness began, and it was when that retrenchment happened. Certainly, having more people out in the field would be beneficial, but it's also about leveraging us in the trade association world to help the government connect with these people.
Picture, if you will, that you're an SME exporter and you're saying, “Gee, I wonder how I can increase my market in country X.” You'll talk to your accountant, you'll talk to your legal advisor and you'll talk to your staff. Your default setting is not to think, “Gee, I wonder what the government has to offer.” That's where trade associations and other people who are linked in can be leveraged.
The other side of it, too, is the training—the trade skills training. There are a number of programs, FITT being one of them, that we've partnered with in the past. That creates the capacity within Canada of skills for trading for that profession. Most Canadian companies are SMEs and have a certain bandwidth of what they can take on in terms of skills training. These types of programs, with proper funding and proper outreach, could be very beneficial.
I agree with you on the process.
Even the Trump administration highlighted a lot of flaws with the process—things that were being neglected and ignored that need to be addressed. I assume that under the Biden administration we will still see the same things being brought forth and we'll have to address them. I think they need to be addressed.
While we are addressing those issues, I am wondering if we should also be addressing some of the other issues, such as enforcement, as I mentioned. What used to bug me with COOL was that anything we did to retaliate also hurt the Canadian sectors, which would be retaliated against. I would almost like to be able to retaliate by exporting to Japan or somewhere else, so at least it wouldn't hurt us but would hurt somebody else. That's a different world.
Mr. Kennedy, I was going to ask you a question. Right now, with COVID, one of the things I'm hearing from the CEOs of my small businesses is that they're trying to plan for the summer. They're trying to figure out what they're going to do. I'm very concerned, as we see other countries like Israel and the U.S. being so far ahead of us in vaccinations, that they'll actually have their economies jump-started before we will, and then they could come in and scoop up our customers.
How big a threat is that?
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Good afternoon, everyone. I am pleased to be here today to provide an overview of the government’s engagement on WTO reform, including Canada’s leadership of the Ottawa Group. In particular, I’d like to highlight some significant developments that have come out of the Ottawa Group since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I am joined today by my colleague from Global Affairs Canada, Kendal Hembroff, director general of the trade negotiations bureau.
As mentioned, Kendal last spoke to you on WTO reform a year ago in March, days before things shifted to the new realities we find ourselves in today. However, the important work continues and, in fact, has intensified.
First let me provide some context. Canada is a founding member of the WTO, which was created in 1995. The WTO is critical for Canada, as it governs trade between 164 members. Its framework of rules provides the necessary stability and predictability for an open Canadian economy to thrive. It is also the cornerstone from which all our free trade agreements are built.
Even prior to the pandemic, the multilateral trading system was facing an increasingly challenging environment, characterized by the rise of protectionism and use of unilateral trade measures. This led to difficulties in a number of areas: first, a stalemate in negotiations; second, a lack of consensus on how to treat developing countries; and, third, an impasse in appointments to the WTO’s appeal mechanism.
The pandemic has served to intensify many of these challenges. Against this backdrop, it has become apparent that we need a collective recommitment to the rules-based trading system and, in particular, to finding multilateral approaches to managing the global economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ottawa Group has been a key vehicle for Canada to exercise leadership on WTO reform. As a small group of like-minded WTO members, created in 2018 with the sole objective of supporting WTO reform efforts, the group has been an effective sounding board on WTO reform issues and has positioned Canada to play a leading role in advocating on behalf of Canadian interests.
Most recently, the Ottawa Group has delivered excellent results in its response to the pandemic. Since the onset of the pandemic, the Ottawa Group has met twice at the ministerial level and four times at the vice-ministerial level. A key achievement of the past year was the endorsement of the June 2020 joint statement, “Focusing Action on Covid-19”, in which Ottawa Group members committed to a six-point work plan with concrete action items.
A direct outcome from this statement was the endorsement of a communication on trade and health during the November 23 Ottawa Group ministerial meeting. The communication calls on WTO members to avoid further disruptions in the supply chains of essential goods and proposes the launch of a multilateral WTO initiative on trade and health. This communication was presented to the WTO’s General Council on December 16, and has set the stage for a busy work plan through 2021 leading up to the 12th WTO ministerial conference, which is now scheduled to take place in November of this year in Geneva.
Ottawa Group members have also collaborated on a Singapore-led initiative against export restrictions on purchases of humanitarian food aid by the World Food Programme.
Canada has also not lost sight of the ongoing WTO reform work, and we are advancing discussions within the Ottawa Group. A key priority for Canada and other members is to address the current impasse in appointments to the WTO's appeal mechanism, also known as the Appellate Body. Driven by concerns about its functioning, the United States has blocked new appointments to the Appellate Body since 2017. The last Appellate Body member's term expired in December 2020, which means that the proceedings simply freeze if a party files an appeal.
For a mid-sized country like Canada, this loss of recourse to binding dispute settlement has serious implications. We are among the top users of the WTO dispute settlement system and have been a disputing party in a total of 63 disputes—40 as a complainant, 23 as a respondent— since 1995. For example, our overwhelming win on softwood lumber at the WTO from 2019 remains in suspended animation because of the lack of an appellate body. Nevertheless, we can and do use the strong legal arguments endorsed by the WTO report in our continuing advocacy and legal work on behalf of our softwood lumber industry and workers.
This situation provoked some creative problem-solving on the part of Canada and the EU to develop a bilateral interim appeal arbitration arrangement in July of 2019. That ensures the continued enforceability of WTO decisions and provides for those decisions to be reviewed by an experienced group of arbitrators.
This arrangement inspired the establishment of the multi-party interim appeal arbitration arrangement, also known as the MPIA. This arrangement has 25 participants covering 51 countries, including the EU and China, and will apply between participating members until the Appellate Body is functional again. In the meantime, Canada's priority remains finding a permanent solution to the Appellate Body impasse. Until that occurs, this interim arrangement safeguards our rights to binding two-stage dispute settlement with willing WTO members.
Canada is also playing an active role in a number of ongoing WTO negotiations, including negotiations to limit harmful fisheries subsidies. Fundamentally, this negotiation is about helping to preserve the sustainability of global fish stocks for future generations. Members had committed to concluding negotiations by the end of 2020 in order to meet a UN sustainable development goal. However, due to continuing divergences in members' positions and logistical challenges caused by COVID-19, the negotiations are still continuing. Canada has made a number of important contributions in these negotiations, including a proposal to discipline subsidies contributing to overfishing and overcapacity.
Challenges to the multilateral approach to negotiations have also led members to pursue negotiations through plurilateral approaches involving subsets of the overall membership. For example, willing members have launched plurilateral initiatives, also known as joint statement initiatives, in such areas as e-commerce, investment facilitation for development, domestic regulation for services, and micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises. These negotiations have the potential to deliver significant benefits for Canadian businesses of all sizes. Canada is actively participating in each of these.
Canada is also keen to see work launched in such new but important areas as trade and environment and industrial subsidies, as well as to continue to advance Canadian interests regarding the elimination of trade- and production-distorting agricultural subsidies.
On the organizational side, we recently welcomed the appointment of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the new director general. We are pleased that for the first time the WTO has a director general who is female and who is from an African country. We look forward to engaging the new director general on WTO reform and the important work on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the global economic recovery. To this end, we have invited her to attend the next ministerial meeting of the Ottawa Group on March 22.
We also look forward to engaging with the U.S. on WTO reform. While early signals from the new Biden administration have shown a willingness to engage more constructively at the WTO, we should not necessarily expect that U.S. positions on a number of issues will have drastically changed. Bilaterally, and through its leadership in the Ottawa Group, Canada will seek to find areas of alignment with the U.S. to advance key WTO reform priorities.
With that, Madam Chair, I would like to return it to you for questions.
Thank you very much.
Thank you very much, Mr. Lobb.
Yes, the time is up. We have to do some committee business.
I want to thank Ms. Hembroff and Mr. Verheul. I am sure it won't be too long before we'll have you back before us again, sharing your knowledge and your information.
You are free to go. Thank you very much. You can disconnect, and we will move on briefly to some committee business.
On this particular issue of the WTO, the analysts will now proceed with preparing a draft report on the testimony heard and submissions received by the committee on WTO reform.
I'd like to ask any members who have special instructions for the analysts if they would please send them to our clerk by next Wednesday, March 17. If members have no objection, we can close the window for submissions of briefs on that Wednesday, March 17, as well. If that's all right with everyone, that's where we'll move on to on that.
We have two motions here. I have a motion from Mr. Blaikie, but before I deal with that, I see that Mr. Savard-Tremblay's hand is up.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
This is a good motion, a very important one, on clean energy, but I see that it lacks one critical thing. In the clean energy space today, the growing viability factor for clean energy is energy storage, and that is batteries—not just for electric vehicles but as an energy storage system.
This motion deals with exportation, but we have to focus also on the importation of these technologies so that we can use them for the development of industry, from mines to manufacturing to technologies. In the U.S., in the last year alone, four or five major projects—close to $10 billion—have been announced for the development of batteries, focusing on both electric vehicles and energy storage systems.
When we deal with clean energy, we should also recognize the growing importance of battery technologies as energy storage, which makes clean energy more viable. We should also focus on trade commissioners helping us get the technology so that the manufacturing can be done in Canada. If they can be manufactured viably in the U.S., we can also get it done in Canada.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I'll take care of those three comments now.
Yes, as it reads, it says, “examination on how Canadian clean technology such as hydroelectricity, wind energy, solar energy, carbon sequestration,”—carbon capture—“grid management, and plastics recycling”. That's a “such as”, but I would be more than willing to add, especially with regard to grid management, because that is a lot about batteries too.... We could just put “batteries” in there.
With regard to MP Lobb's comments, let's also add a comma and “nuclear” in there to talk about the good things he is proposing as well.
Yes, I'll accept all those.
Mr. Blaikie, yes, at the last meeting I mentioned this would be about a three- or four-meeting study—maybe four now with those two more things introduced—and I said that we could plug it in as we need to, as we go along on this important study. Obviously, I just voted to support Mr. Blaikie's motion, so I'm okay with that.