13:47 07 Feb 2024

Canada backs free trade agreement with Ukraine

The bill on the updated Free Trade Agreement with Ukraine, which Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Volodymyr Zelensky signed back in September, was finally passed by the Canadian House of Commons.

CBC reported that the bill was passed despite objections from the Conservative opposition, which was dissatisfied with the provision on "carbon pricing."

"For this trade agreement to be implemented, Ukraine must agree to introduce a carbon tax. We cannot support this," said Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer.

The trade agreement does not obligate the Ukrainian government to introduce a carbon tax. It contains provisions for both countries to cooperate in "promoting carbon pricing and measures to reduce carbon leakage."

Earlier, Forbes Ukraine reported that other issues concern the Canadian opposition, including:

  • The agreement does not include a section on energy and energy security; in particular, it does not consider the interests of Canadian companies ready to export LNG gas, small modular nuclear reactors, and uranium.
  • Too much text and too little time to analyze it for non-tariff barriers, especially for Canadian companies.
  • Uncertainty about how products destined to/from temporarily occupied territories will be classified under the updated agreement.

The vote took place on the same day as a poll was released, indicating that support for Ukraine is decreasing among an increasingly large number of Canadians, especially among conservative voters.

A poll by the Angus Reid Institute found that a quarter of Canadians believe Canada provides "too much support" to Ukraine in its struggle against Russia, compared to 13 percent who said the same in May 2022.

Next, the bill must go through the Canadian Senate. 

In October, Canada's Minister of Foreign Trade, Export Support, Small Business, and Economic Development, Mary Ng, presented the text of the modernized Free Trade Zone (FTZ) Agreement with Ukraine in parliament.

Canada also approved the temporary waiver of import duties on Ukrainian goods a year before June 9, 2024.


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