Теги: CUFTA
Why Ukrainian IT companies have great prospects on the Canadian market

Canada is a major player in the global IT industry. There is well-developed educational and research infrastructure that promotes innovation. R&D centers, commercialization and manufacturing are concentrated in high-tech clusters in major cities of Canada. The common features of these clusters are federal and provincial initiatives and grants, powerful research programs, collaboration with academic institutions and incubator resources for small high-tech startups. Such an innovative environment is particularly attractive to foreign investors who want to enter the market, become key players and minimize their training costs. Prosperous high-tech clusters also attract world-class talent from abroad.

Continued decline in the world oil prices is gradually shifting the balance of economic power in Canada from oil and mining to high-tech sectors of the economy. Thanks to the “soft” rate of the Canadian dollar, high-tech companies interested in economy and political stability started moving to Canada from the United States. The flagship in this process is undoubtedly the province of Ontario.

In fact, the Greater Toronto Area (Toronto with 25 smaller neighboring municipalities) is considered to be the country’s main high-tech hub rated next to the Silicon Valley of California, Boston, Seattle and Washington in the United States.

Thus, in January 2016, Google opened new ultramodern headquarters in the suburbs of Toronto – Kitchener, and Cisco Systems recently opened its new Innovation Center in Toronto. Blackberry also has its headquarters in GTA. In November last year, Microsoft announced its intention to open new headquarters in downtown Toronto and invest more than $ 570 million over the next three years. This is apart from the IBM, DELL, OpenText, Amazon, AMD, CityBank, TD, RBC, Accenture, CIBC and other offices, plus hundreds of high-tech startups lumped around Toronto.

IT industry clusters in Canada are concentrated in Montreal, Quebec, Ottawa, Toronto and Kitchener Waterloo in the East, as well as in Calgary and Vancouver in the West. The Toronto Waterloo Corridor is the second-largest IT cluster in North America (after California).

The sector’s rapid development generates certain competition among individual regional centers. For example, Montreal is currently ready to host IT professionals even by granting a permanent resident status. The only additional requirement here is the knowledge of French.

Canada’s IT sector is significantly different from that of Ukraine. Here, for example, there are many old men and women who still remember punch cards and floppy disks and can talk for hours about PL/I and Ada programming features that were used back in the 1990s. However, they are also well familiar with modern technologies and systems. Local experts are professional virtuosos in their narrow sphere, while Ukrainian specialists are do-it-all workers that see everything in a different way.

Also, the Canadian IT sector has a large proportion of women – about 63.4% according to official statistics. Most Canadian employers understand that the more diverse is labor force, the more innovative the company is and the better is its performance.

Diversity is a company’s large competitive advantage on the market and a guarantee of its successful development and welfare of its workers. The number of young people who work in the IT sector in Canada is only 6% (aged 15-24), while the share of people over 55 years is 13%! That is, Canadian employers are quite conservative and prefer more experienced employees.

The rapidly growing demand for technology specialists absorbs all talent in the country and is also fueled by immigration. In general, immigration in Canada is an integral part of strategic economic development, especially immigration through education, as this is the way to attract the most talented and promising specialists. According to some experts, approximately 216,000 new jobs will be created in the sector by the year 2021. Due to immigration and involvement of students from Canadian universities, the country will be able to meet only 30% of these needs. Thus, the conclusion is obvious: Canadian companies will look for opportunities to attract foreign professionals, companies and outsourcing. And this is a great chance for Ukraine!

Is Ukraine attractive for IT outsourcing from the point of view of Canadian companies? No doubt, it is! These are just a few arguments. First of all, Ukraine offers a good value for money. In Ukraine, labor costs are relatively low.

For example, Canadian ICT sector employees earn $ 80,074 per year on average, while the wages in the IT industry in Ukraine are about 20,000 – 30,000 dollars per year. In our country, IT sector is developing extremely fast. This means that companies can offer their customers competitive prices along with the highest quality.

For instance, the respectable international ranking of Global Innovation Index has included Ukraine in the top 50 countries in the IT field in 2017 putting it ahead of such popular IT outsourcing countries as India, Philippines and Brazil.

Another advantage of Ukraine is its startups. According to AngelList statistics, there are now 1,600 Ukrainian technology startups with an average value of $ 2.5 million and nearly 3,000 investors. With regard to Canada, these figures are more modest – 600 startups with an average value of $ 5.2 million and slightly more than 500 investors. Not only investors but also industry giants believe in startups of Ukrainian origin. For example, Amazon recently bought a startup called Ring with an R&D office in Ukraine. Another example is the startup called Looksery, which was founded in Ukraine and acquired by Snapchat. In addition, such well-known companies as Grammarly, Petcube, People.ai and CleanMyMac have also emerged in Ukraine and are used by clients from around the world.

Ukraine has a large number of highly qualified professionals, most of them are fluent in English. Today, our country ranks fourth in the world among the countries with the largest number of technical workers. In Ukraine, there are more than 90 thousand IT specialists, of which 50 thousand are software developers.

In addition, Ukrainian universities annually produce more than 38 thousand technical specialists. In general, 79% of people in Ukraine have higher education, and 57% of technical specialists have STEAM education (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

According to experts, the number of web and mobile developers in Ukraine by 2020 will exceed 200 thousand. The community of Ukrainian developers is also very active as they regularly attend dozens of international conferences, exhibitions and training forums.

Therefore, despite the fierce competition from countries such as India and China, Ukrainian ICT companies have great chances to succeed in establishing partnerships with Canadian companies. For example, the successful collaboration of Canadian business and Ukrainian IT helped the Canadian Tire’s technological redevelopment. Established in 1922, Canadian Tire today offers residents of Canada a wide range of goods for home and entertainment, household repair and improvement, automotive and seasonal goods. In total, the company employs about 85,000 people, and its retail network consists of 1,700 stores. The corporation includes retail companies, financial services subdivisions and a national charity fund for engaging children in sports. The Company EPAM has developed the Canadian Tire Digital Commerce Project and provided a new experience for consumers who make online purchases through mobile applications and stores.

Today, many Ukrainian companies are interested in finding partners in Canada. There are many ways to do this including personal contacts and participation in various industry events: exhibitions, conferences, forums, etc., wherever there is an opportunity to present a company and its services and get new contacts (networking); as well as active use of social networks – LinkedIn (first and foremost) and Facebook – by participating in closed thematic groups of the geographic area where a company has interest. However, the company’s best advertising is its satisfied customers – better in Canada but also in the US, Australia or the UK. You do not have to ignore good old cold calls or emailing because you never know where you will meet a partner. The main things, however, are perseverance and consistency!

The first ICT mission in the framework of the CUTIS project (Canadian-Ukrainian Trade and Investment Support Project) will be held in April this year when 15 Ukrainian companies will visit Canada. Hopefully, they will be able to learn by their own experience of the existing increased demand for professional services and ICT sector specialists in Canada, contribute to the development of fruitful cooperation between the two countries and find reliable partners across the ocean.

Olha Shtepa, Coordinator, Canada-Ukraine Trade and Investment Support Project (CUTIS)

Source: AIN.ua

What Surprises Ukrainian Food Exporters to Canada Should Be Prepared for?

The Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA), which entered into force in summer of 2017, may potentially open a wide range of opportunities for Ukrainian exports. Now, there is just a little left to do – to take advantage of these opportunities.

Taking into account the fact that Canada, as well as Ukraine, is an export-oriented country, the issue of veterinary and phytosanitary control of imports is a serious challenge.

Canadians strictly control agricultural products crossing their borders, since the importation of a product contaminated by plant pests or pathogens compromises Canada’s own export potential and undermines safety of its citizens.

The Way to Canada

Safety guarantee of the imported goods in Canada has to be supported by:

1) phytosanitary certificate (for products of plant origin that are subject to quarantine);

2) veterinary certificate (for products of animal origin) issued by the competent authority of the exporting country.

The central authority that establishes veterinary and phytosanitary regulations for Canadian manufacturers and importers at the federal level is the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. This is essentially an equivalent of the Ukrainian State Service for Food Safety and Consumer Protection (SSUFSCP).

How does it work in practice? For instance, Ukrainian beef producer sees good prospects for selling its products in Canada. But for the importation to the Canadian territory the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) requires that the products have veterinary certificates.

The producer itself or together with the representatives of the respective association of producers approaches the SSUFSCP asking it to initiate the procedure for the approval of veterinary certificates for beef with the Canadian regulatory authority.

In line with the current Canadian official procedure, the Ukrainian party has to provide comprehensive information (questionnaire responses) regarding the legal framework, the competent authority network, the existing state control system and procedures, statistics in Ukraine, etc. Once the Canadian party has processed the information provided to it, the SSUFSCP and the concerned exporters undergo an audit by the Canadian regulatory authority.

Only upon the receipt of positive audit findings and approval of the veterinary certificate form for a specific product category, the SSUFSCP will be given permission to export the appropriate type of product.

It is worth noting that this procedure will not occur automatically, but should be initiated by the concerned Ukrainian producers.

It should also be understood that elimination of these barriers takes time, sometimes years.

Phytosanitary and Veterinary Certificates Approval Procedures

  1. Producer or association of producers sees good prospects for its products in the Canadian market and approaches the SSUFSCP.

  2. The SSUFSCP approaches the appropriate Canadian regulatory authorities and initiates the procedure of certificate approval.

  3. The Ukrainian party provides the Canadian party with all appropriate information on the product safety control in Ukraine.

  4. The Canadian regulatory authority conducts audits of the SSUFSCP and the concerned exporters.

  5. If the audit has been successfully passed, the SSUFSCP is entitled to issue appropriate certificates that are recognized in Canada.

The procedure for recognizing the control system as described above is applicable to both Ukrainian exports to Canada and Canadian imports to Ukraine. Presently, competent Ukrainian and Canadian authorities have approved 15 international veterinary certificates for importing to Ukraine.

Who is Next

However, Ukraine’s trade potential with Canada is much higher. In Ukraine, there is a strong interest in exports of poultry, packages of bees (i.e. live bees) and confectionery and other products to the Canadian market.

Efforts to open the Canadian market for Ukrainian chicken meat continue. In October 2016, the SSUFSCP submitted to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency under the Canadian Ministry of Agriculture and Food three requests for the accreditation of Ukraine to export poultry and poultry products to Canada. While in April 2017, an additional request was sent for the assessment of Ukraine’s status with regard to the export of bee packages to Canada. So far, the only response including additional questions and clarifications that has been received is the one related to the poultry meat. It is currently being processed by the SSUFSCP experts.

The Ukrainian dairy product producers’ will benefit from learning more about the Supply Management System that operates in Canada. This system is based on monitoring the dairy product consumption and a milk quota system for the Canadian farmers.

Canadians strive to satisfy the demand by the local dairy products to the extent possible. Insufficient amounts of these products are compensated through import quotas. Thus, even regardless of sanitary restrictions, market opportunities for dairy products in Canada are very limited.

Communication with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has revealed that, currently, a ban has been put on the Ukrainian cereals imports to Canada. This is due to the fact that a few years ago, pests were found in one of the lots of imported Ukrainian cereals, although appropriate phytosanitary certificate had been provided.

The lifting of the ban requires additional communication between the relevant authorities of both countries. It is worth noting that the SSUFSCP has not received any requests to resolve this issue from Ukrainian exporters.

Things You Need to Know

Systematically organized information on the documents required to import food products to Canada can be found in the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s website.

It is important to remember that in Canada it is the importer who is responsible for the compliance of the imported products with the local legislation. To this end, a Market Access Secretariat has been established under the Canadian Ministry of Agriculture and Food, which through an ‘open window’ service operating as a publicly accessible e-mail server processes inquiries from Canadian businesses and provides recommendations on ways to access both the domestic and foreign markets.

It is also important that in the second half of 2018 legislative changes will come into effect in Canada that will change the approach to food safety control. These will be based on the risk analysis principle and the need for importers to obtain import licenses for the controlled shipments in the future.

Ukrainian exporters already now need to pay attention to the new Canadian preventive food safety controls.

The implementation of the Free Trade Agreement requires a systematic cooperation between Ukrainian and Canadian government authorities, which has become more active now. In November 2017, with the support of the Canada-Ukraine Trade and Investment Support Project the SSUFSCP delegation visited Canada and established important contacts with local regulatory authorities.

We are sure that in 2018 our joint efforts will make the Canadian market closer to Ukrainian food exporters.

Authors:

Boris Kobal, Director, Food Safety and Veterinary Service Department, State Service of Ukraine for Food Safety and Consumer Protection

Olena Kuryata, Chief of Unit for Foreign Relations and European Integration Deputy Chief of Directorate for International Cooperation State Service of Ukraine on Food Safety and Consumer Protection

Source: European Pravda

Ukraine and Canada have developed cooperation in standardization

We have another great news! On September 25, 2018, the UkrNDNC (State Enterprise “Ukrainian Research and Training Center for Standardization, Certification and Quality”) and the Standards Council of Canada signed an agreement on cooperation.

The agreement was signed during the ISO Week in Geneva (Switzerland). It is the result of previous agreements reached during the visit of the Ukrainian delegation to Canada in November last year. The trip of the Ukrainian delegation was supported by the CUTIS project.

The Standards Council of Canada accredits standardization organizations and compliance assessment bodies. It has accredited 10 standard development organizations in Canada.

The signed agreement includes, inter alia, the following important points:

  • Exchange of information related to standards development activities
  • Exchange of experience and the best practices of the activities of national technical standardization committees
  • Cooperation in the development and adoption of international standards
  • Exchange requests for information on the adoption of international standards in Canada and Ukraine
  • Sectoral cooperation in the field of international standardization and free trade

In summer 2018, the UkrNDNC also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Canadian Standards Association (CSA Group), which is a non-governmental standardization and certification body accredited by the Standards Council of Canada.

Cooperation between the UkrNDNC and the Standards Council of Canada will support the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and Ukraine (CUFTA), which entered into force on August 2017.

It is not a secret that after the abolition of tariff barriers, it is the non-tariff requirements that are sometimes rather difficult to overcome. Accordingly, the compliance of Ukrainian products with the regulatory requirements of the Canadian market becomes the key issue for exporters.

More about standardization in Canada you can find here.

U CAN Export: F.A.Q.

Want to export to Canada, but do not know where to start? We have prepared the answers to the most frequent questions exporters ask us.

I would like to join the export support program U CAN Export? What should I do?

The CUTIS project has now completed the selection of the first wave of the U CAN EXPORT Export Support Program participants in four priority sectors: clothing, footwear, furniture, and confectionery. The final stage of selection of participants from the IT services sector will take place in the spring of 2018.

The selected participants, with the support of Canadian industry consultants, are preparing to participate in exhibitions in Canada throughout 2018. Applicants who were not selected were included in the reserve of the participants of the U CAN EXPORT program. They will have a chance to take part in an integrated level of the program in the future, as well as take advantage of all the opportunities of its educational/consultational level. The rotation of the companies will take place after the project’s cooperation with the current program participants will be completed.

If your company is not among selected ones but wishes to enter the U CAN Export Support Program, please fill out a short application form here. The selection of companies from the reserve will be conducted on a competitive basis, by filling out special questionnaires, interviewing company representatives and visiting applicants’ production (if needed).

After completing the application, your company will also be included in the CUTIS project exporter database and will receive information and training materials, invitations to trainings and other project activities.

My company is not in the priority sectors. What should I do?

For companies in all other sectors, we have developed a step-by-step export guide to Canada I CAN EXPORT. It covers most of the issues faced by exporters, such as:

  • consumer preferences of Canadians
  • search for partners in Canada
  • the procedure of crossing the border and the requirements for the documentation
  • regulatory constraints on the Canadian market
  • logistics, etc.

Also, our project is currently developing an export portal with useful information for Ukrainian exporters.

We encourage you to subscribe to our Facebook page, where we constantly publish interesting information on trade with Canada and announce all our events. You can also subscribe to our e-mail newsletter.

I want to get a comprehensive help to enter the Canadian market. Who should I contact?

Unfortunately, our project does not have the resources to systematically help all the companies that contact us. However, there are other organizations that have a lot of experience in helping Ukrainian companies to enter the Canadian market.

For example, you can contact the Canadian-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce (CUCC), which is a partner in implementing our project. CUCC has been supporting trade and investment development between Canada and Ukraine for more than 25 years and has offices in Toronto, Alberta and Ukraine. The Chamber organizes business forums, trade missions and conferences in Canada, promotes business contacts between the two countries, has partnerships with Governments of Canada and Ukraine, and provides a wide range of assistance services for Ukrainian exports to Canada.

Follow CUCC on Facebook

Life-hacks to successfully negotiate with a Canadian partner

In Canada sellers are fully responsible for the quality of the goods on their shelves. Therefore, Ukrainian companies that work with Canadians have to follow the regulatory and certification requirements closely.

Musthaves for exporters

To get your goods to the supermarket shelves, you have to ensure 101% compliance within the letter of the law. The requirements are quite strict in Canada. Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) may help to learn all regulatory requirements for the food products. You need to enter the product code or name and the website will automatically generate the list of requirements.

If entrepreneurs intend to supply non-food products to Canada they will have to study sector-specific legislation. No single magic portal contains all the information.

Also, there is a number of “voluntary-compulsory” certificates in Canada. In this market, sellers bear full responsibility to end consumers for the goods on their shelves.

Sellers are interested to have not simply good but the best products, which are fully certified and safe.

I, therefore, recommend exporters to start reviewing GFSI certification right away, as it includes the following certificates: BRC global standard for foods safety Issue 6; FSSC22000; SQF code 7th Edition Level 2; IFS Foods Standard Version 6; Global Aquaculture Alliance Seafood BAP Seafood Processing Standard. These are the certificates that will make your goods much more attractive for retail chain representatives. It is hard but necessary.

In addition, large Canadian supermarket chains often require their suppliers to go through a corporate social responsibility (CSO) audit before the supply of goods. Canadians are known to be “moral buyers”. Canadian business prefers the suppliers who do not violate labour, gender or human rights. Nevertheless, few Ukrainian companies can boast of something else within the CSO framework than charity campaigns or formal policies.

Veni, vidi, vici 

As a rule, Canadian companies plan their meetings well in advance and will not meet you at inconvenient time even if you need it urgently and “it will take only five minutes”. No cancellation or force majeure, unless you want to lose your partner’s trust.

Based on my practical experience, it took 5 months to organize a meeting of Ukrainian food manufacturers with a supermarket chain in Canada. The Canadian party’s timetable is booked for months to come.

In 99% of cases, the first meeting is held personally: no Skype or teleconference. If you want a result, you will have to travel to Canada. The meeting itself goes quickly and intensively. You must take product samples with you. Most likely, the importer will ask you of the possibilities to change the products: packing design, labelling, taste line, frequency of supplies.

The first meeting may last 7 to 30 minutes. The first contact is the indicator of interest. If a company manages to catch the interests of Canadians their quality and safety specialists will need to analyse the samples in detail.

After the meeting, there may be two possible case scenarios. Under the negative scenario for the Ukrainian company, it will hear of the Canadians’ decision within a month or a month and a half; a positive outcome will, most likely, be known within about a year.

First scenario: the products have been tested and they are not different from those of the existing supplier. This means there is no sense to continue negotiations. A letter on such a decision will come, as a rule, 1-1.5 months after the meeting. The answer is usually straightforward: “Thank you, but our company decided to extend its contract with the existing supplier”.

Second scenario: the partner liked your products but this is only the beginning of further work. Depending on individual Canadian food importers, the working process with supplying companies takes 2 months to one year between the discussion and negotiation and the first supply of your products to the supermarket or warehouse.

As soon as the importer confirms its intentions, you will be entered into the internal system and an individual project will be launched with a dedicated manager. Further, step by step, you will be discussing prices, mix, packing, design and batch volumes over the phone or Skype.

In addition, a schedule is mandatorily developed for provision of necessary start-up documents. For instance, a future supplier should submit a third party insurance agreement, a goods insurance agreement, a confirmation of the goods’ compliance with Canadian organic standards. It will take time and financial resources to compile and coordinate those documents. This is a part of the process, however, and one may only get the goods to the supermarket shelves upon successful passage of this phase.

Author: Olga Vergeles, Project Manager, Canada-Ukraine Trade and Investment Support Project (CUTIS)

Source: Delo.ua

The nearby market of distant Canada: free trade and its opportunities for Ukrainian exporters

The first day of the last summer month was marked by the long-awaited launch of a free trade agreement between Ukraine and Canada. Finally, upon completion of ratification procedures, the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA) came into effect.

Let us take a look at the Agreement from a practical standpoint and analyse the following:

  • how to work under the Agreement and properly understand the meaning of staging categories in the tariff schedules of Ukraine and Canada;
  • how to confirm the origin of goods; and
  • what are regulatory requirements to your goods.

Canadian market is diverse and rather heterogeneous. Therefore, interesting facts are provided at the end of this article for you to get oriented when looking for a niche for your goods at Canada’s store shelves.

Staging categories in tariff schedules of Canada and Ukraine

As a rule, Ukrainian manufacturers are interested in two things:

  • whether zero-rate import duty will be applied for exports to Canada;
  • how will import duty change for imports into Ukraine.

If you decided to review the Agreement yourself in order to find answers to those questions, please, note the staging categories in the tariff schedules of Ukraine and Canada.

The Tariff Schedule of Canada contains the goods with the import duty rate other than “0” as of the effective date of the Agreement (only 2% of goods). That is, if your goods are not listed in the Tariff Schedule of Canada this means that a zero import duty is applied to them since 01.08.2017. Therefore, there are only two staging categories in the Tariff Schedule of Canada: “7” and “Е”.

Staging category “7” applies to certain vehicles and means that the import duty will become zero in the eighth year of the Agreement (according to the estimates, in 2024) by getting gradually reduced in eight equal stages starting on 01.08.2017. Let us take, for instance, “Non-amphibious all-terrain vehicles of a weight of less than 227.3 kg, having fewer than six wheels and designed to carry only one passenger” (8703.21.10), for which the base rate of import duty is 6.1% and the staging category is “7”. The order of gradual reduction of import duties is shown in the graph below.

It should be noted also that the first year of the Agreement is 01.08.2017 through 31.12.2017. That is, the second year and the next phase of import duty liberalization will start already on 01.01.2018 (and last through 31.12.2018).

The goods in staging category “Е” in the tariff schedules of both states are excluded from the scope of the Agreement. This means that the free trade regime does not apply to those goods and the import duty will continue to be applied at the MFN rate (relevant rates of import duties may be found in Canada’s Customs Tariff).

In the case of Canada, Category “Е” includes the goods subject to Canada’s global tariff quotas. These are mainly certain grain crops and meat and dairy products. The idea of the tariff quota is that a zero or a very low import duty rate is applied within a tariff quota. When the quota is exhausted, however, a higher duty rate is applied (MFN rate in accordance with the Agreement).

It should be noted that Canada’s tariff quotas are international and applied to all countries of the world rather than Ukraine only. Canada reserved the right to set tariff quotas when it became a member-state of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Those quotas are available for all exporters from all countries that are WTO members. Depending on the goods, the tariff quotas are administered on the basis of either of the following principles:

  • “first-in-first-served” (the control of compliance with this principle is exercised by Canada Border Services Agency, CBSA);
  • through a preliminary distribution of tariff quotas by Global Affairs Canada based on applications.

In both cases, the tariff quota is received by an importer in Canada. The list of tariff quota holders may be found on the website of Global Affairs Canada. Following this link, for example, you may see the lists of companies that received a tariff quota for cheese in 2017.

The Tariff Schedule of Ukraine contains a much larger number of staging categories. In particular, this is due to the fact that Ukraine succeeded in claiming the asymmetric nature of the Agreement. Therefore, Ukraine will liberalize import duties for about 80% of the goods of Canadian origin on 1 August already (while Canada will ensure free access to the market for 98% of Ukrainian goods).

That is why, zero-rate import duty will apply to the goods under staging category “0” in Ukraine’s Tariff Schedule as soon as the Agreement comes into force. The plan for the goods under staging categories “1”, “3”, “5” and “7” is shown in the table below.

For the goods under Staging Categories “5А”, “5B”, “5С”, “7А” and “7В”, the import duty rate will be liberalized only in part. As an example, let us take: 1517 90 91 00 – Fixed vegetable oils, fluid, mixed; Base Rate – 15%, Staging category: 5В. The import duty rate will be liberalized as follows (as we can see, the rate will only drop by 4.5% in 6 years):

Staging category “Е” (exclusion from the scope of the Agreement) in the Tariff Schedule of Ukraine applies to sugar.

Rules of origin

Similarly to any other free trade treaty, CUFTA contains provisions on definition of origin of goods. For instance, the rules of origin determine, which Ukrainian goods are granted preferential access to the Canadian market within the CUFTA framework, and which are not (and vice versa).

In compliance with the Agreement, goods are recognized as originating from Ukraine if they are:

  1. fully manufactured in Ukraine;
  2. manufactured exclusively from the materials originating from Ukraine;
  3. processed in Ukraine to a sufficient extent.

Definitely, the most complex are the rules of sufficient production that

  • require changing the tariff classification, or
  • impose requirements to the relation of the cost of foreign materials to the transaction cost, or
  • impose a requirement to the relation of the cost of foreign materials to the goods price on the Ex Works terms.

Therefore, exporters should review in detail the rules of origin contained in Chapter 3 and Annex 3-А to the Agreement.

The document confirming the origin of goods is the Declaration of Origin (a template is contained in Annex 3-В to the Agreement). That is, exporters themselves provide information on the origin in the invoice or any other document containing the goods description.

Thus, for the confirmation of the goods origin, Ukrainian exporters do not need any certificates/marks of customs authorities, which reduces the cost and time for customs clearance of goods.

Where to find regulatory requirements to your goods?

Canada is a developed country that sets rather strict requirements to the safety and quality of goods. For those requirements not to become non-tariff barriers for export, it is worth studying them in detail. There is a number of useful resources for that purpose.

For instance, Canada Food Inspection Agency ensures compliance with all regulatory acts dealing with foodstuffs, animals, and plants imported to Canada. There is a very convenient resource on the Agency’s website that allows generating the requirements for import to Canada using the code (or even the name) of goods. The system is called Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) and is somewhat similar to the European Export Helpdesk resource.

For manufacturers of consumer goods, medicines, foodstuffs, medical equipment, health products, the website of Health Canada will be of use.

Manufacturers of washing machines, dish washers, freezers, electric ovens, and refrigerators should review the details of EnerGuide certification requirements on the website of Natural Resources Canada.

If you are a manufacturer of textile, it is worth visiting the website of Canadian Competition Bureau to learn, for instance, about the textile marking requirements.

In fact, there are specific marking rules applied in Canada.

Labels on the packing must be in Canada’s two official languages: French and English, and both texts must occupy the same area.

Therefore, we recommend reviewing the provisions of Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act.

One should be very careful with statements concerning the goods. For instance, under Canadian rules the skin antiaging agent may only prevent signs of aging rather than reducing wrinkles. The same refers to foodstuffs where statements concerning the goods may be of three types only:

  • general impact on health,
  • functional impact on health,
  • reduction of disease exposure.

For each type of statements, individual rules are applied. For instance, if you position your goods as “natural” you have to make sure they do not contain any additional vitamins, minerals, nutrients, artificial flavours or food supplements, and no elements were excluded (except water) or significantly modified, while the physical, chemical or biological condition of the goods remains unchanged.

Usually, your Canadian partner would tell you about all regulatory requirements to the goods and how to prove compliance with them because it will be the Canadian importer who will be liable in case of incompliance. Therefore, when developing a bilingual label remember that the final word of the design approval rests with your partner.

Concerning the search for partners, Canadian Importer Database is an extremely useful resource that contains lists of companies that import their goods to Canada with a breakdown by products, cities and countries of origin.

Canada: Facts and Opportunities

Finally, some words about Canada and Canadians. Canada is the second largest country in the world. However, about four fifth of its population live in the area 150 km away from the US border.

More than 6 million Canadian citizens are those who immigrated from other countries; they represent about 20.6% of the country’ entire population (35.9 million people in total).

In Canada, there are 1.3 million Ukrainians; Ukrainian community is one of the largest in Canada. Originally, Ukrainians immigrated to the prairie provinces (Manitoba and Saskatchewan) but lately have been also discovering Ontario and Quebec.

Canada’s multiculturalism opens broad opportunities for business on condition of detailed market analyses aimed to detect target consumers. For example, cosmetic manufacturers export skin bleachers to British Columbia because of many people of South Asian descent living there.

Due to the increase of the Muslim community, demand for Halal products is steadily growing. Interestingly, more than 95% of Canada’s Muslim population live in cities.

According to the latest research of Business Development Bank of Canada Canadian consumers prefer:

  • Internet search before purchasing the goods (they carefully study other buyers’ reviews and feedback);
  • health lifestyle (as estimated, almost 31% of Canadian consumers are ready to pay more for healthy goods);
  • individual approach; and
  • good quality at lower price.

Also, about 6 of 10 Canadians consider themselves to be “ethical consumers” and are willing to spend their money for the goods produced under certain ethical standards. For instance, Canadians are ready to pay more for the goods that are not connected with the use of children’s labour.

Canadian market of organic goods is the fifth largest in the world and 56% of Canadians buy organic products every week.

Thus, Canadian market is closer than it may seem in the beginning, and the Free Trade Agreement does bring many opportunities for Ukrainian exporters considering significant and immediate cancellation of import duties and a large Ukrainian diaspora in Canada that may become a bridge to Canadian consumers, distributors, agents, retail operators, etc.

So don’t be afraid to capture new markets even though they are located far.

Author: Oleksandra Brovko, CUTIS Senior Trade and Investment policy expert

Source: European Pravda

Four stereotypes about trade with Canada: What blocks Ukrainian export

March 14, 2017, will undoubtedly go down in the history of Canadian-Ukrainian friendly relations, because on that day the Ukrainian parliament has ratified Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA).

Now we are waiting for ratification from the Canadian side, the exchange of the instrument of ratification – and the free trade zone will work in full.

Therefore, in 2017 we will celebrate not only Canada’s 150th anniversary but also the beginning of our free trade with the country.

The team of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade managed to fix in the Agreement positions that are more favorable for domestic exporters and a broader time frame for abolishing import duties. The agreement will immediately open for Ukrainian exporters duty-free access to 98% of the Canadian market. This applies to both industrial goods and agricultural (except 108 tariff lines, which can be exported without duties within Canada’s global quotas).

Deputy Minister of Economy, Ukraine’s trade representative, Natalia Mykolska noted Ukrainian exporters would get short-term and long-term prospects for entering the Canadian market, and national producers would have incentives to improve the quality and competitiveness of their products.

The time does not wait, and Ukrainian exporters should start exploring the Canadian market and the tastes and preferences of Canadian consumers regarding their goods. So when the agreement enters into force, they can begin exporting the first lots of goods without paying import duty. The Office for Export Promotion under the Ministry of Economic Development might help conquerors of overseas markets to find business partners and necessary information.

Related: Senate of Canada ratifies free trade agreement with Ukraine
Unfortunately, the long-term orientation to the markets of the nearest neighbors generates a lot of fears among Ukrainian exporters about the free trade agreement with Canada.

Many Ukrainian businessmen are convinced that Canada is far away, so transporting would be expensive, and Ukrainian products does not hold water before competitive American goods – accordingly, there is no place for Ukrainian goods in the Canadian market. That is, the tariff and non-tariff barriers are paralleled with the mental ones.

In this article, we will try to analyze how these and other stereotypes are justified.

Stereotype 1: “Canada is far away. Transport costs would make the goods uncompetitive”

CUFTA is the first transatlantic free trade agreement concluded by Ukraine. Although the Canadian market may seem distant, and the delivery of goods to Canada can look expensive and long, technological progress allows you to ignore the long distances in international trade of the 21st century.

Look at the shelves in supermarkets in Ukraine. You will see pears from China, wine from Chile, and these goods are sold at relatively reasonable prices.

Imagine that according to the Sea Distances portal the cargo from Shanghai to Odesa (8379 nautical miles of distance) would be delivered in 35 days, moving at a speed of ten knots per hour. In the case of Chile, time and distance are almost the same. Overcoming so many kilometers is not cheap. In addition, Ukraine still has no free trade with China and Chile. This means that the goods are imported with payment of import duties on the Ukrainian border.

Undoubtedly, transportation costs determine the potential for entering foreign markets, and the cost of delivery affects the variable costs of doing business. Moreover, a long distance can become a challenge if the product spoils rapidly (for example, fresh fruits, and vegetables) or depends on consumer preferences (for example, high fashion collections).

However, at present, logistics and shipping companies offer individual personalized solutions for the delivery of cargo anywhere by air, sea, rail, road transport.

If you plan to export fresh fruits and vegetables to Canada, choose air or sea shipping with temperature control. If your collection is to be shown at the fashion week in Montreal, use fast air travel or even express delivery. If you cannot fill the entire container with your goods, join the group of cargo, which consists of many individual deliveries.

Long sea transport also has the advantage: according to some estimates, an additional kilometer of land transportation will be seven times more expensive than an additional kilometer by sea.

In fact, there is no single solution for all exporters of the issue of the long distance between Canada and Ukraine. Yes, indeed, if the marginality of goods in the Canadian market is low, transportation costs can affect competitiveness.

However, distance is not a problem, because the development of transport technologies offers a variety of options for reducing costs and optimizing the duration of transportation to Canada.

Stereotype 2: “Canada imports everything from the US, Canada has no place for Ukrainian goods”

Common borders and geographical proximity have made Canada and the US the most important trading partners for each other. Canadian consumers are important for US producers, as last year Canada purchased goods and services for $ 337.8 billion from its southern neighbor.

The economies of the two countries are highly integrated, and this process was accelerated by the bilateral free trade agreement of 1988 and the NAFTA in 1994. In addition, a large percentage of Canada’s bilateral trade with the United States consists of intermediate products that enter the integrated supply chain between the two countries.

As a rule, neighboring countries trade more than geographically remote ones. Bilateral trade between close countries is facilitated by a developed regional logistics network, the similarity of the business environment and bilateral customs cooperation.

Think about Ukraine. Now the largest trading partner of Ukraine is the EU. In 2015, almost 40% of Ukrainian goods and services were exported to the EU. The bilateral trade is growing due to a deep and comprehensive free trade agreement between Ukraine and the EU.

However, free trade with the EU does not prevent the presence of pears from China, wine from Chile and Georgia, and dairy products from Belarus on the Ukrainian market.

In addition to NAFTA, Canada has 10 existing free trade agreements, in particular with Korea, Israel, Jordan, and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

Obviously, Canada seeks for free trade, and the diversity of intercontinental free trade agreements demonstrates that Canadian foreign trade is multi-vector.

Ukrainian exporter will face competition with the American one and other foreign manufacturers in the Canadian market. However, this competition will stimulate it to improve its products and offer new values to Canadian consumers.

Stereotype 3: “Ukraine would be able to export its goods to the US through Canada without paying import duties”

The free trade regime between Canada and the US can lead to the idea that due to duty-free access to the Canadian market can enable exporting goods through Canada to the US without paying import duties on the Canadian-American border.

Given that there is no free trade agreement between Ukraine and the United States, goods of Ukrainian origin are subject to customs rates based on the most-favored-nation treatment (except for goods falling under the US general preferences system).

In addition, free trade agreements contain rules of origin that the goods must comply in order to have preferential access to the partner market by agreement. According to CUFTA, goods produced in Ukraine have preferential access to the Canadian market.

Remember that in order to cross the Canadian-American border on preferential terms, the goods must be of Canadian or American origin respectively, since NAFTA is still a free trade agreement, not a customs union.

At the same time, Canada might be a regional hub for export sales, logistics planning, distribution, marketing and working out a strategy for entering other markets.

Stereotype 4: “Canadian consumers buy products which are made in Canada only”

Polls show that consumers in Canada are really inclined to buy Canadian products, since the purchase of “made in Canada” products positively affects the economy of the country, creates jobs, etc. A 2013 study indicates that 45% of Canadians are trying to buy goods produced in Canada.

Nevertheless, two out of three consumers indicate that the main factor in buying goods is still a low price.

Thus, to consider that Canadians only buy “made in Canada” products is a big exaggeration. Supporting your country, when the crisis is still palpable, is a completely justified behavior. The same thing is happening in Ukraine in the last two years.

First, remember that the diaspora of Ukrainians in Canada amounts to more than 1.3 million people. Diaspora can help spread information about the product, establish the first business contacts, and reduce initial costs when entering the Canadian market.

The presence of Canadians of Ukrainian origin makes Canada a very welcoming place for Ukrainian small and medium-sized businesses.

Secondly, remember that Canada is a big country, and consumer preferences can be different in Ottawa, Montreal, and French-speaking Quebec City.

Canada is a very diverse country with a multinational population. In 1971, it became the first country in the world where multiculturalism became part of official state policy. One-fifth of Canadians were born not in Canada. Thus, diversity is the strength of Canada and a good opportunity for Ukrainian exporters to find a new market for their goods.

And finally, Ukrainian companies have something to offer to Canadian consumers. We are able to create, surprise, and create a quality product. Even before the era of free trade with Canada, Ukrainian companies successfully establish business contacts, meet with potential partners, participate in exhibitions, calculate logistics, sign contracts, and deliver goods.

When you have a quality product that meets the requirements of the Canadian market and the consumer preferences of Canadians, then there no distance, and competition is not a hindrance.

Author: Oleksandra Brovko, CUTIS Senior Trade and Investment policy expert

Source: European Pravda

CUFTA in 10 minutes

On August 1, 2017, the Free Trade Agreement between Ukraine and Canada entered into force. The way to this historical event was quite long: 6 rounds of negotiations since 2010. In summer 2015 the agreement text was initialed, and in July 2016 it was signed in the course of the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau’s first official visit to Kyiv, Ukraine.

What will free trade with Canada mean for business? Instead of immersing deep into almost 800-page document we are suggesting a brief overview of the Agreement’s key provisions for your consideration.

Unlimited access to Canadas market

One should note that Ukraine and Canada’s obligations on access to markets are asymmetrical – Ukraine has obtained more favorable conditions and broader timeframes for customs’ duties elimination.

            What are the conditions for Ukrainian companies to export to Canada?

The Agreement will immediately open customs-free access to 98% of Canada’s market. This refers both to agricultural and industrial goods. However, there are exceptions:

  • For agricultural products. The Agreement provides zero tariff rates for all agricultural products except 108 tariff positions allowed for duty-free export within Canada’s global tariff rate quotas. They include, inter alia, poultry (frozen poultry, poultry fat), dairy products (milk, cream, yogurt, butter), eggs and egg products, cheeses and sugar.
  • For manufactured products. The only exception is cars – 7 years transitional period is set for them within which the duties will be reduced to 0%.

            What are the conditions for Canadian companies to export to Ukraine?

Canada’s situation is more complex. Right after the Agreement comes into force, the duties will be eliminated only for 72% of Canadian goods. The duties for the rest of 27% will be gradually reduced in compliance with transition periods – 3, 5, and 7 years. Besides, the Agreement provides for partial liberalization on the agricultural products key for Ukraine as well as some tariff rate quotas and specific goods. More details can be found at the picture with info graphics below.

Technical barriers

The Agreement regulates the non-tariff technical barriers to trade, because the differences in Canadian and Ukrainian standards on products’ quality and safety requirements, labelling, and certification may become a source of unjustified restraints for free trade.

Within the CUFTA Ukraine and Canada confirmed their commitments regarding the Agreement’s provisions on WTO-related technical barriers to trade’s policy. It also includes a transparent mechanism for developing and application of technical regulations as well as the procedures to evaluate compliance.

The Agreement also ensures provisions for information exchange among the countries with the purpose for the Parties to better understand legislative requirements and potential problems for exporters and importers.

The rules of origin

The duties are eliminated in relation exclusively to the goods originating from Ukraine or Canada. The Agreement includes transparent rules to determine a country of origin: goods must be fully manufactured at the territory of one of the countries or be sufficiently processed in compliance with the detailed rules of origin.

Trade facilitation procedures

The Agreement provides for shared access of the Parties to all necessary regulations in the sphere of trade. CUFTA encourages automatization of customs duties’ procedures and use of IT technologies as well as creating the complaints system regarding the customs services. All these efforts are aimed at facilitating access of the business to the markets in both countries.

Emergency action and trade remedies

In case of a significant growth of import from Canada after elimination of the customs’ duties, Ukraine is entitled to take emergency protection action to stabilize the situation. In particular, in the course of transition period customs’ duties may be raised temporarily to prevent a significant harm to Ukrainian producers.

Sanitary and phytosanitary measures

CUFTA confirms Ukraine and Canada’s commitments within the framework of the Agreement on application of WTO sanitary and phytosanitary standards. The latter provides for the right of the WTO members to protect their citizens’ health given it is scientifically grounded and there are no artificial trade barriers in place.

Fair competition

The free trade area involves creation of a predictable and fair trade environment promoting protection of consumers’ rights. This is the reason why the Agreement includes the chapter aimed at preventing anti-competition conduct within free trade of Canada and Ukraine. In particular, natural monopolies and state-run enterprises of Canada and Ukraine must adhere to the rules of fair competition while implementing the authorities delegated by their countries and prevent discrimination while exporting the monopoly goods.

Government procurement

The Agreement provides both countries’ companies with an opportunity to bid in the course of government procurement. Businesses will have the right for fair and non-discriminated access to government procurement conducted by both countries’ governments, including procurements done by state enterprises (airports, railways, mail networks, public transportation systems).

Intellectual property

CUFTA provides for Ukraine-Canada cooperation in the area of intellectual property rights protection. The Agreement underscores the importance of protection of intellectual property rights to increase competition, develop innovations and attract investments.

Electronic commerce

Currently electronic commerce has become an essential part of our lives. The importance of e-commerce is reflected in the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement as well. Both countries undertake the commitment to refrain from applying customs duties or any other tariffs in relation to the products delivered in electronic form. This will facilitate the commercial processes for the business involved in on-line trade.

Cooperation on trade issues

The Agreement solidifies the intentions of Canada and Ukraine to cooperate seeking to enhance trade among the countries. In particular, there are provisions to provide technical assistance to develop agricultural goods production and facilitate small and medium companies entering the markets of Canada. There are plans on cooperation to raise the awareness of both countries’ business communities about the benefits of free trade.

The CUFTA’s full text is available here.

Certainly, this short review does not disclose all the nuances of the Canada Ukraine Free Trade Agreement. At present CUTIS project is designing a step-by-step guide; this guide will include the detailed information about all aspects of exports to Canada. We are going to publish short and clear information materials for the businesses interested in doing exports to Canada. Check our updates in social media.

Olga Vergeles: CUTIS will help Ukrainian businesses to enter Canadian market

One of the key aspects of economic development of Ukrainian regions is building the export capacities of local producers and attracting direct foreign investments.

Being geographically distant from Ukraine, Canada has strong historical ties with it and similar values. To affirm such affinity Canada has been consistently promoting reforms in Ukraine. The Canada-Ukraine Trade Investment Support (CUTIS) project offers support in the sphere of export and attraction of investments.

CUTIS is a five-year (2016-2021) initiative of the Canadian government aimed to reduce poverty in Ukraine by expanding exports from Ukraine to Canada and investments from Canada into Ukraine. The projects was launched in February 2016 and has been implemented by the Conference Board of Canada in cooperation with the Canada-Ukraine Chamber of Commerce.

The project aims to support small and medium-sized enterprises across all regions of Ukraine by partnering with chambers of commerce and industry, business associations as well as the Government and reform project offices. A special focus of the project is cooperation with women-run enterprises. Also, the project is oriented at developing environmentally friendly businesses in Ukraine.

The key partners of CUTIS are the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine represented by Ukraine’s Trade Representative Nataliya Mykolska and her team, the Export Promotion Office headed by Maryana Kahanyak, and the newly created Investment Promotion Office headed by Daniel Bilak.

The project concentrates its activities on the following key areas.

First, awareness raising and business networking. The starting point for practical implementation of the project was the Canada-Ukraine Business Forum hosted in Toronto in June 2016, which was attended by more than 400 representatives of both Ukrainian and Canadian business. The forum was focused on four key sectors – agriculture, energy efficiency, innovations, and IT. The event was attended by the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, the Minister of International Trade (now the Minister of Foreign Affairs) Chrystia Freeland , and a high-level Ukrainian government delegation.

Business Forum has demonstrated investment advantages of Ukraine for representatives of Canadian business and encouraged establishing trade contacts between small and medium-sized enterprises of both countries. The event included over 90 B2B meetings that evolved into business negotiations and signing of contracts.

The post-forum activities are focused on the comprehensive support of small and medium-sized businesses. CUTIS experts develop all information materials required for proactive companies that are ready to export to Canada: step-by-step guides, business matchmaking recommendations, explanations on Canada-specific aspects of labelling, packaging and licensing, customs rules, product certification, etc. Also, CUTIS promptly advises entrepreneurs across the country on the available opportunities to enter Canada’s market.

During the first year, CUTIS hosted dozens of meetings with entrepreneurs interested in exporting to Canada, representatives of energy, IT, confectionary, and consumer goods industry.

The project team in Toronto (Canada) has been identifying investors that are ready to support Ukrainian business, specifically at the regional level. CUTIS will match Ukrainian enterprises with potential Canadian partners and advise Canadian businesses on investment proposals from Ukrainian businesses.

To facilitate access of businesses to such information across all regions of Ukraine export and investment web-portals are being created.

Also, CUTIS will cooperate with Ukrainian government officials and businesses to help them use maximum benefits of ratification of the landmark Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA) that was signed in summer 2016 during the first official visit of Justin Trudeau to Kyiv. To better communicate information on benefits offered by the CUFTA regional tours and meetings will be organized, during which the project experts will educate Ukrainian businesses about new conditions of exporting to Canada and other advantages of the CUFTA.

The project will also provide comprehensive support concerning exports of five priority commodity groups to Canada. Unfortunately, CUTIS cannot provide direct support to all enterprises willing to enter Canada’s market. For this reason a research was initiated to identify Ukrainian goods that are top priority for Canada. In spring 2017 CUTIS will know five commodity groups that have better chances for success in Canada.   

Upon presentment of results of such research a transparent selection will be conducted in the most transparent manner to identify enterprises of the prioritized sectors, which are eligible to get a full-scale support. Ukrainian enterprises from all regions may participate in the selection.

The project will facilitate participation of the selected enterprises in trade fairs and events aimed at expanding business relations in Canada. They will get professional advice directly from Canadian specialists and use their assistance to adapt Ukrainian goods to regulatory requirements for exports to Canada. The project will include joint work on packaging, licensing, environmental certification, marketing, compliance with standards of Canadian laws and regulations.

Such comprehensive support is expected to materialize in successful market entry of Ukrainian goods and stimulate a significant expansion of Ukraine-Canada trade.

One more aspect of the project is to develop competences and skills of governmental and non-governmental organizations in the field of exports and attraction of investments. CUTIS will share best world practices in the sphere of international trade and attraction of investments with Ukrainian Ministries, reform project offices, chambers of commerce and industry, and business associations.

In December 2016 CUTIS and WTO conducted an international trade negotiations training simulation. A series of trainings on identification of priority sectors for export and use of dedicated software is scheduled for February 2017. Similar professional events will be hosted during the project.

In cooperation with regional partners CUTIS will offer courses aimed to develop export capacities of small and medium-sized enterprises. The materials obtained will be used to further educate local entrepreneurs.

The goal of the project is to deliver practical skills to the governmental authorities and organizations promoting business development. Canada’s competence and expertise will help the Ukrainian stakeholders to strengthen their professionalism, expand horizons of trade and contribute to Ukraine’s success globally.

Improvement of the regulatory framework in Ukraine is a prerequisite to success of Ukrainian goods in Canada. CUTIS will cooperate with the Government of Ukraine to harmonize Ukrainian and Canadian standards. Regulatory approximation will facilitate the market entry process for Ukrainian businesses in Canada.

Yet another important aspect is cooperation with Ukrainian testing laboratories in five priority sectors to help them get certified by the relevant Canadian regulatory agencies. At the moment international quality certificate is a pass for goods to Western markets.

Entering the Canadian market requires efforts, time and substantial work on the products. However, it is a challenge rather than an obstacle for Ukrainian producers. Proactive business is an efficient drive for trade. CUTIS goal is to be a compass that will show a proper direction to the entrepreneurs.

CUTIS has a number of ambitious goals and is gaining momentum – year 2017 is expected to offer an array of opportunities to Ukrainian exporters. We are open for partnering with regional business associations, chambers of commerce and industry, and entrepreneurs.

Canada is waiting for you. Don’t miss the opportunity!

Source: “Strategy of development” magazine

Author: Olga Vergeles, Canada-Ukraine Trade Investment Support project manager

Oleksandra Brovko: Free trade triangle. What are the benefits of Сanada-Ukraine free trade agreement

Free trade agreements or custom unions are a global trend. Their number increases every year, regional agreements evolve into multiregional and even transcontinental.

According to the World Trade Organization (WTO) each of its 164 members had at least one free trade agreement as of June, 2016.

So far, the WTO has information about 635 agreements on preferential trade, 423 of them are effective. 90% of those agreements are about free trade zones and 10% are about customs unions.

Recently, after 7 years of negotiations the EU – Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) was signed. EU defines the agreement as the largest one because it stipulates cancelation of 99% of the entry charges thus facilitating access to service markets, governmental purchases and promote investments.

Potentially, CETA is beneficial for Ukraine as well. On one hand the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) came into effect in January 2016. Moreover, Ukraine dramatically enhanced its transcontinental trade by signing the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA).

When coming into effect the CUFTA will open up to 98% of the Canadian goods markets for Ukrainian exporters. Moreover, the agreement has provisions on elimination of the non-tariff barriers, promotion of the trade, participation in governmental purchases, etc.

The question arises: what are the benefits of Ukraine-Canada-EU free trade triangle for Ukraine?

Mutual Non-Tariff Barriers Elimination

Both EU and Canada are highly developed countries with the high quality of goods and safety, packaging, labeling, etc. standards. Those standards are often turning into non-tariff barriers in the international trade.

CETA contains important provisions on alignment of the EU and Canada standards without compromising the quality and safety requirements by either side.

The agreement has an unprecedented section on approximation of the technical regulations and standards covering even their development stage. That allows bringing the regulatory approaches in Canada and EU closer.

At the same time CUFTA clearly stipulates that technical guidelines and evaluation procedures must not impede the free trade between Ukraine and Canada. Moreover, there is a strict requirement of transparency of appropriate regulations development.

Approximation and mutual recognition of the technical regulations by the EU and Canada is of special importance for Ukrainian exporters as Ukraine is facing a challenging task of harmonization of Ukrainian legislation with the EU one. The approximation impact will not be limited by the exporters activities only but rather affect all the manufacturers because it introduces universal rules.

So far Ukraine has developed the sanitary and phytosanitary regulations approximation strategy. It also adopted strategy of the technical regulations reform, cancelation of the Soviet GOSTS (USSR technical guidelines) and implementation of the European requirements to goods quality and safety.

Goods manufacturing in Ukraine according to the European standards will facilitate the access of Ukrainian goods to the Canadian market, promote recognition of the evaluation results and reduce the export costs by saving on the administration costs.

Even nowadays those exporters which have EU certificates have advantages in negotiating with their Canadian partners.

From – To: Rules of Origin of Goods

Bilateral free trade agreements establish better trading conditions but only for the parties of the agreement. E.g. goods brought from Ukraine to Canada could not be re-exported to the US customs free because they are of Ukrainian origin rather than Canadian.

Origin of goods rules are the filters for the goods which are allowed to export with zero or considerably reduced duty rates. Each free trade agreement has its own rules of origin which take into account the peculiarities of the international trade of those agreements parties.

Usually, manufacturers have to prove that their goods are 100% domestically made/grown or imported materials of the so-called substantial transformation are added up. Each agreement contains its own substantial transformation criteria. The list may include:

(1)   Classification code changes, e.g. first 4 signs in export commodities classifications;

(2)   Cost of goods change when foreign goods share in final products does not exceed the set limits. Let’s discuss apparel as an example.

According to the Protocol I of the EU – Ukraine Association Agreement containing the main origin of goods requirements, apparel is considered to be of the Ukrainian origin if the fabric’s cost imported from the third countries like Morocco or Turkey does not exceed 8% of goods’ price.

Free trade agreement with Canada recognizes transformation substantial when the commodity line is changed at the level of 2 signs of the export commodity classification.

Origin of goods rules are integral part of free trade agreements because it is the ultimate instrument for identifying partners’ goods. On the other hand, when free trade agreements overlap, they may be difficult for exporters especially because of global value chains.

Asian and Latin American countries experience show that different sets of rules undermine the performance of free trade zones. Nearly 90% of trade in Latin America are preferential however the analysis of the free trade agreements between Mexico, Chili and Peru prove that only 40% of goods follow similar transit of goods rules.

Similar situation is in the South East Asia where the countries are interlinked by the free trade agreements. In 2008 the initiative of reviewing origin of goods rules for their unification was launched within the ASEAN.

Cumulation may be a good solution e.g. bilateral cumulation is stipulated by the CUFTA, the DCFTA, and the CETА. Cumulation means that if raw materials are imported to Ukraine from the EU, the substantial transformation rules do not apply. For example, if apparel is manufactured of the fabric imported from the EU rather than from Morocco, and its share in the cost of goods exceeds 8%, the apparel will be recognized as Ukrainian and exported to the EU without payment of custom duties.

Cumulation is important for the DCFTA – CUFTA – CETA triangle because Ukraine may benefit from the so called cross-cumulation which further reduces the raw materials and goods transit barriers.

In such cases if apparel is manufactured in Ukraine with the fabric imported from the EU, it will be recognized Ukrainian and the rules of substantial transformation do not apply when it is exported to Canada. However, in such cases conditions and rules of goods transit between Canada, Ukraine and EU require additional negotiating.

The free EU-Ukraine-Canada trade cumulation will facilitate the links between the three independent free trade agreements (DCFTA, CUFTA, CETA), will assist in furthering trade between Ukraine and Canada and will promote Ukraine’s integration into global value chains.

Service Trade and Raising Investments

As any comprehensive free trade agreement, the CETA has clauses on services and investments. Trading in services is substantially liberalized because Canada and the EU drew the exemption lists of several sectors like health care and provided free market access for the rest. In addition, the CETA promotes mutual recognition of qualifications which will soon make for the Canadian engineers, healthcare professionals, lawyers, etc. possible to work in the EU and visa versa.

Unlike CETA and the EU-Ukraine association agreement the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement does not stipulate trading in services and investments. However, in two years after it comes into effect the CUFTA could be revised and amended. Those amendments could well be the provisions on trading in services and on investment protection.

Ukrainian services providers could considerably benefit from the access to the multimillion Canadian market especially when trading services is an essential part of the global value chains.

Experto Crede or Trust the Experienced one

Free trade agreement between the EU and Canada is an important signal for Ukrainian exporters.

First of all, it is a one more “pro” for the trade with Canada as the EU would not waste 7 years on negotiation for nothing. There is an ocean between us and the severe competition with the US but in the XXI century it is a challenge rather than a problem. If you smartly market quality goods, you will adequately address those challenges.

Secondly, there is no time to waste because free trade between the EU and Canada will enhance the competition. Ukrainians would better start looking for their places in the sun right now.

Free trade agreements open many paths because our success will much depend on the businesses’ proactive approaches and readiness to long-term investments.

Oleksandra Brovko, CUTIS Senior Trade and Investment Policy Expert

Source: European Pravda