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Results: 1 - 10 of 10
Mark Agnew
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Mark Agnew
2020-11-16 11:14
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Thank you, Madam Chair and honourable members, for the invitation to speak as part of the committee's U.K. study. It's a pleasure to be back here and to see you all again virtually.
As the committee's members will appreciate, the U.K. is a significant trading partner for Canada. It's our third-largest goods export market and second-largest destination for foreign direct investment abroad. As Trevor alluded to a moment ago, it's quite important, particularly in the EU-28 context, with 40% of our merchandise exports and 36% of our service exports from the EU-28 going to the U.K.
Despite the impressive overall rankings, it still is an overall small proportion of our global trade share, behind the United States. The relationship, we feel, has the potential to grow, and certainly Britain is an ideal market for Canadian companies seeking to diversify, given our shared language and ways of doing business.
With the EU separation question firmly decided in the U.K., we need to look ahead to dealing with the world as it is. The reality means that, once the U.K.'s transition period with the EU ends on December 31, the U.K. will no longer be treated as if it were a party to CETA by the Government of Canada. Given how important the U.K. is as part of the EU-28's export basket, the short answer is that Brexit matters for Canadian businesses.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has not completed our own in-house modelling, but some external work serves as a rough guide for what the potentials are. Canadian economist Dan Ciuriak conducted an analysis in 2018 as part of the British government's CETA impact assessment. The study found that by 2030 the value of the U.K.'s participation in CETA would be worth about £1.1 billion, or approximately $1.9 billion Canadian in terms of Canadian exports to the U.K.
Although this is definitely not a precise measurement, given that we don't know the final architecture of the U.K.'s trade arrangements with the EU and Canada and that we don't know what the U.K.'s final picture will be in 2030, given that the study was done with a 10-year time horizon, and that we also have divergences in the U.K. and EU's MFN tariff rates, it nonetheless provides at least a decent rough signpost on the potential for what a U.K.-Canada trade deal means to the Canadian economy.
I'd like to just be a bit more specific now on some of the immediate implications of not having a transition agreement in place by December 31.
The first is tariffs. Canadian businesses will lose preferential access to the U.K. market, making our products less competitive. Some examples of where we would face tariffs under the U.K.'s global tariff regime include lobster products, with tariffs of up to 10%; plastics under HS 3908, with tariffs of up to 6%; vehicles under HS 8703, with tariffs of up to 10%; and beef products under HS 0201 with an ad valorem tariff of up to 12%, plus specific tariff units per kilogram.
I should add here a note that Canadian beef products have a TRQ under CETA and certainly any TRQs that are transposed into a U.K.-Canada context need to be commercially viable for Canadian companies to take advantage of them.
The second, which we will not have without a transition agreement in place, are the discussions around regulatory co-operation. CETA provides a framework for critical regulatory dialogue to occur on agriculture non-tariff barriers and through the conformity assessment protocol. Regulatory co-operation is not glamorous; it's the nuts and bolts of trade and absolutely critical. Our trade agreements have an important role in shining a spotlight on the work that regulators do to make sure that issues are advancing in a timely manner for businesses. Certainly agriculture non-tariff barriers have been quite problematic in the EU context, and we hope that the U.K. will eventually take a different approach.
The last is service exports. CETA's temporary entry chapter provides provisions on intra-company transferees, and this means that Canadian companies can bring in specialized talent to work in Canadian operations. CETA's contractual service suppliers' provisions mean that specialized skills can be brought in to fill supply chain gaps for Canadian businesses. CETA provisions on these entry categories reduce business burdens and, without them in a U.K. context, companies will need to use other routes that are more cumbersome.
Simply put, if CETA matters, then transitioning it into a bilateral agreement also matters. We have been working closely with our U.K. counterparts at the Confederation of British Industry to advance this and will continue to do so until the deal is done.
Certainly we hope this committee will be able to facilitate an expeditious passage of the implementing legislation once the agreement is finalized.
As members of the committee will appreciate, everything you do in trade builds on what came before it. CETA was the gold standard when it was negotiated, but the Canada-U.K. transitioning agreement should be seen as a starting point for going further.
I'd like to quickly highlight five areas where we think we can do this.
Number one is digital trade. Since CETA's negotiation, global trade discussions on digital trade rules have taken on a much bigger focus. This includes the WTO as well as our digital trade chapters in CPTPP and CUSMA. Discussions with the U.K. on digital trade should support better data flows by Canadian companies.
Number two is regulatory co-operation. The future gains on merchandise trade will ultimately be determined by reducing non-tariff barriers given how low tariff rates are for most products. This is particularly important for Canadian agriculture exporters, as I alluded to a moment ago, where it's been a tough slog in the EU. There's also forward-looking work that we can do in areas like health sciences procurement as well as cybersecurity.
Number three is critical minerals. The global supply of rare earth minerals that enable the production of many high-tech products remains dangerously concentrated. Future discussions between the U.K. and Canada should facilitate greater private sector production and movement of these rare earth extractive products.
Number four is trade facilitation. The pandemic has emphasized the value of the efficient movement of goods globally. Canada and the U.K. should explore ways to introduce additional measures that would modernize customs processing in CETA, and build on the free trade agreement from the WTO.
Number five is labour mobility. Enhancing the ability of companies to attract talent and access service contracts abroad is critical to diversifying what you're exporting, not just to where. Activities like after-sales servicing can actually be more lucrative for companies than the original export itself, so we should try to be ambitious in how we approach this business activity.
Without a bilateral agreement in place, certainly these five areas, and work on other areas like sustainability, will be difficult to go further on.
Thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to the discussion.
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Adam Nelson
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Adam Nelson
2020-11-09 11:12
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Thank you for the opportunity to speak today.
I'm Adam Nelson, senior adviser on the Asia-Pacific team at the National Democratic Institute, dialing in from Washington, D.C. I do want to acknowledge that Washington, D.C., is the traditional land of the Anacostan Piscataway people.
I am always happy to speak about the future of democracy and human rights in Hong Kong. The city is near and dear to my heart, as I spent nearly a decade living, working and studying there, primarily focused on democracy, human rights and social entrepreneurship in both mainland China and Hong Kong.
With offices in over 50 countries, NDI is a non-partisan, non-governmental organization that has worked for over 35 years to promote democratic principles of transparency, accountability and inclusion worldwide and to support the development of democratic institutions. We work closely with our sister organizations, the International Republican Institute, the Center for International Private Enterprise and the Solidarity Center, to do this work.
Along with many other global donors, Global Affairs Canada has been a strong supporter of our work, particularly in the Middle East and Eurasia, and we want to thank them for that support.
Before I speak about NDI's work in Hong Kong, I would like to note that in the realm of relations with China, NDI stands for pro-democracy, not anti-China.
Since 1997, NDI has worked with partners from across the political spectrum to help Hong Kong realize the democratic promises made in the Basic Law and the Sino-British joint declaration. We have done this by partnering or working with Hong Kong academic institutions and the entire range of political parties and civil society groups to advance non-partisan research, education and dialogue to support inclusive and citizen-responsive governance.
In addition, NDI has conducted regular comprehensive assessments of Hong Kong's democratic progress, including rule of law and protection of civil liberty, as part of our ongoing “Promise of Democratization in Hong Kong” series.
Clearly, our work has had an impact. Fearing our work, Beijing singled us out as an organization for sanctions—and NDI's president as well—to get us to stop doing our programs. We are not. In fact, we are looking for ways to expand and to continue supporting the people of Hong Kong in their democratic aspirations.
The fundamental challenge with Hong Kong's new national security law—barring succession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces—is mainly that the law can be and is now being used for whatever Beijing or Hong Kong's leadership want it to be. They will fit any action, whether peaceful protest or criticism, into the law.
We have seen pro-democracy champions arrested and charged, young people grabbed off Hong Kong streets, legislators harassed and independent media attacked. Some have found the operating environment so fearful that they have fled the city to the U.K., Europe, Taiwan, the U.S. and, of course, Canada.
We also see Beijing's strident “wolf warrior” diplomacy in play when their ambassadors strike out and threaten the west in response to any criticism of China's abuses under the new law.
NDI itself is seeing a rising fear among our historic partners. Some partners fear the national security law enough to curtail their relationship with NDI, thereby having the intended impact: a chilling effect on democratic discussion.
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Adam Nelson
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Adam Nelson
2020-11-09 11:16
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Many pro-democracy groups, aside from certain key leaders, fear standing out in advocacy or statements for fear of their families being targeted back in Hong Kong or arrested upon return.
NDI will continue to support efforts on two lines: first, in supporting pockets of democratic resilience in Hong Kong's now closing space and, secondly, in international advocacy, by liaising with the international community on democracy and governance issues facing Hong Kong and primarily working to amplify the views of Hong Kong citizens themselves.
We are currently finalizing the report of our latest public opinion poll. In the last several years, we have conducted a series of surveys to engage Hong Kong citizens' perspectives on democratic development and political reform. The second survey was conducted in the fall of 2018, and the latest was done in the fall of 2019, which has provided a direct comparison on how the protest movement has affected people's attitudes. One notable result has been the prioritization of democracy over the economy, especially among young people.
We have also just begun a comprehensive remote analysis that will examine the political environment in the aftermath of the new law and the decision to delay the legislative council elections. We are working with Canadian partners to conduct polling and social media monitoring to look at the information environment and map the sources and proliferation of misinformation, work we are now doing strongly with civic technology partners in Taiwan. The polling is still in the field but shows some indication of lack of trust in a credible polling environment ahead of the legislative council elections next year and a strong desire for Hong Kongers to leave the city.
Canada has a long history of leveraging its moral standing within the global community to push and advocate on democracy and human rights. I'd be happy to speak about how the Government of Canada can continue to play a constructive role in light of this situation in Hong Kong.
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View Stéphane Bergeron Profile
BQ (QC)
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2020-11-09 11:36
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
My first question is for Mr. Tsang.
As someone who is familiar with the history of Hong Kong and the handover from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China, would you say that the administration that was in place at the time of the handover was already anticipating a possible strengthening of power over Hong Kong, or was it the arrival of Xi Jinping at the head of the Communist Party that brought about this change in the People's Republic of China's attitude towards Hong Kong?
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Steve Tsang
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Steve Tsang
2020-11-09 11:37
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Whether China has Xi Jinping or not, it will tighten up control over Hong Kong at some stage. The promise of 50 years of no change in Hong Kong always implied that, by 2047, the Chinese government expects Hong Kong to be another Chinese city.
The extension of the arrangement for the 50 years was never really on the agenda, but we are talking about 22 and 23 years into the 50-year period. There is, therefore, no need for Hong Kong to have reached the point that it has reached now. That is the result of Xi Jinping's change in his approach, but even without Xi Jinping, at some stage we will get to where we are now.
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View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
View Jack Harris Profile
2020-11-09 11:44
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There is an expectation or at least a possibility that in 15 years' time there may be a different approach being taken by China, partly as a result of international action. Is that what you're saying?
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Steve Tsang
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Steve Tsang
2020-11-09 11:45
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That's one possibility. Another possibility is that things will change in China. The way Xi Jinping is governing China in the short term makes the Communist Party much stronger, much more powerful, much harder, but it also makes the regime much more brittle. Xi Jinping himself knows that. If we go back to what happened with the pandemic in China in February and March, when they were talking about a Chernobyl moment in China, they were seriously frightened of the regime's instability. They are constantly worried about regime security. If they are so worried about it, there is usually a reason.
If Hong Kong still has something like 26 or 27 years left, let's keep that for as long as we can. If things change, Hong Kong may still stand a bit of a chance.
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View Heather McPherson Profile
NDP (AB)
Thank you.
I hope you can hear me.
Thank you very much, Brigadier-General Bourgon and Ms. O'Neill, for joining us today. This is great. I'm absolutely delighted that I get to participate in the committee today.
I have some questions to start with. I'm going to ask a few questions of Ms. O'Neill.
I know that you are mandated to provide advice to a number of ministries, such as Crown–Indigenous Relations and the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. The ones I'm particularly interested in are under the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of International Development. Could you talk a little bit about how the WPS agenda is being integrated into these departments, and how you're being consulted and are able to provide feedback?
As a sub-question, perhaps you could talk a little bit about how you would see a feminist foreign policy going forward, and what that might look like in terms of incorporating a GBA+ analysis across the ministries you are mandated to provide advice to.
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Jacqueline O'Neill
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Jacqueline O'Neill
2020-10-26 11:46
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Thank you for those questions.
Your first one relates to how it's integrated across the department, the now consolidated department of Global Affairs Canada.
Really, the North Star essentially is our national action plan on women, peace and security. When I started the role, I spent several months speaking with people across that department as well as various others at all lengths, from locally engaged staff to ambassadors, deputy ministers, etc., and asked first of all what they knew about it and what they needed to implement more, and there was overwhelming consensus that we have the policy framework that we need. We need implementation of it and we need the implementation to be more consistent so that we are implementing it when crises emerge and it's a little more reflexive than it might be now.
In terms of the way that I'm integrated, my office itself is based at Global Affairs. There are four staff, including me. I'm very fortunate, as I mentioned, to have two secondees from DND and from the CAF, as well as a range of people I work with across different offices. While it's both an advantage and a challenge to be, as I sometimes describe myself, a kind of floating box in an organization chart, it also presents a lot of opportunities to engage in different areas. I work with regional bureaus as well as thematic bureaus to talk about the extent of our implementation and gaps that still need to be filled.
Your question related to feminist foreign policy. The government has spoken to date of our feminist foreign policy as being composed of various components, with women, peace and security and our action plan being one of them. Our feminist international assistance policy is another. “Strong, Secure, Engaged” is a third, and then our trade policy is a fourth. Those are kind of pillars of the feminist foreign policy.
In talking about it around the world and at home, I recognized that “feminist” is often a very loaded word, especially when you associate it with security and defence issues, but I find that when you unpack the concept, almost without exception, it's something that the vast majority of Canadians agree with. The way that I think about it and the way that I think the government articulates it and implements it is by recognizing that every single person has equal rights and should have an equal opportunity to access those rights, and that we are all better off when that happens, so it is looking at power structures—not just equality, but power.
You mentioned how GBA+ fits into that. Gender-based analysis-plus is a tool of analysis. It's a process through which we can identify how an issue might differently affect men or women or boys or girls or people who are in urban settings or rural settings or people with disabilities. It's only a tool for understanding. An approach of women, peace and security and our feminist foreign policy is a positive determination to create more equality and reduce the inequality that is identified through that analysis. Part of the issue, I think, is making sure that we do strong gender-based analysis-plus and then do something with that information.
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Jacqueline O'Neill
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Jacqueline O'Neill
2020-10-26 11:50
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I'd say a few things. I have a lot of druthers.
One would be to just get people aware of what the principle is. I think there are still a lot of misconceptions that women, peace and security is about saying women are inherently more peaceful than men or better than men at some things, or that women are going to be disadvantaging men in some way. It's exactly the idea we're talking about. It's reducing barriers to having equal opportunity, the idea that women in particular in areas of peace and security face a disproportionate number of barriers, so number one is just recognition of what the issue itself is and shedding some of the stereotypes associated with it.
The other thing I'd say is to have a much more customized tool. The vast majority of people across the departments that I work in really want to contribute to gender equality, and yet we're asking them to do more and more specific and technical tasks. How do you fully integrate gender-based analysis-plus into procurement processes for the Department of National Defence? What does a military gender adviser need to do? How do you advise your embassy about successful models of inclusion in a national dialogue process? How do you protect women human rights defenders? What's the data and research out there?
We were just talking about what's actually working. If I had a tool, I'd give people a lot more customized guidance for their day-to-day jobs. We talk a little bit about GBA+ and people are introduced to Security Council resolution 1325, and they're big concepts—
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