The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

John Boscariol


Ukraine, economic sanctions and trade

By John Boscariol March 17, 2014 17 March 2014

Recent asset freezes imposed against former leaders of Ukraine and their family and colleagues, along with the growing threat of new and broader economic sanctions against Russia and its political elite, have highlighted a number of high-risk “blind spots” for Canadian companies doing business abroad. 

Contravention of these measures can lead to criminal investigation and prosecution, delays or restrictions in your export shipments or other transfers out of Canada, monetary penalties, and even imprisonment.  Further, the reputational impact of these kinds of violations can have significant negative consequences on your relationships with customers, vendors, investors, banks, and other business partners.

Canada’s expanding use of trade controls

Canada’s use of economic sanctions and other trade controls has significantly expanded in the last few years to the point where these measures are now often more restrictive than those imposed by our allies, including the United States.

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CETA: Still waiting on the details

By John Boscariol February 11, 2014 11 February 2014

Last fall’s announcement that Canada and the 28-member European Union had finally concluded the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) in principle was met with excitement and strong support from the business community.  And it’s no wonder as the deal promises Canadian exporters and investors preferred access to a market of 500 million consumers and the world’s largest economy.  Canadian companies find themselves in a unique sweet spot of sorts having now secured preferred trade and investment access to both the EU and US markets.

Long on promise, short on detail

But once one pushes aside the platitudes, press releases and photo ops, there is little detail available on the terms of this deal.  Most significantly, they have yet to release a draft text. 

The Canadian government’s publications, Opening New Markets in Europe: An Overview and the Technical Summary of Final Negotiated Outcomes, read like promotional brochures – heavy on selling the deal to Canadians but light on its actual provisions.  For its part, the EU Commission issued a brief fact sheet touting the benefits of the deal for its access to the Canadian market, including access to sub-federal government procurement and protections for geographical indications and other intellectual property: Facts and Figures of the EU-Canada Free Trade Deal.

However, based on what the Canadian and EU governments are saying so far, this deal appears to be very broad, extending far beyond what Canada negotiated under NAFTA in a number of aspects. 

Depending on the business sector, there will be many areas worthy of closer and careful examination to determine CETA’s competitive opportunities and threats.  Whether it’s a manufacturer, processor, distributor, service provider, or financial institution looking to export goods or services to the EU or invest in EU operations, there is likely going to be something for them in this deal.

Read more after the jump.

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John Boscariol is partner and Leader of the International Trade and Investment Law Group at McCarthy Tétrault LLP. His practice focuses on the regulation of cross-border trade in goods, services and technology and foreign investment. / John Boscariol est un associé et chef du groupe en droit du commerce et de l’investissement international à McCarthy Tétrault.

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