European Union Set to Ban Imports of Certain Fresh Fruits and Vegetables on 1st September

From 1st September, the European Union will apply new pest control measures that could restrict imports of certain fresh fruits and vegetables from Canada and other countries. The affected products include species of apples, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, pears, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes.

The underlying measure is Council Directive 2000/29/EC (the “Directive”), which requires EU member states to, among other things, “ban the introduction into their territory” of the “plants, plant products and other objects” affected by certain harmful organisms unless “the relevant special requirements” are met (see Article 5). Those requirements, which are set forth in Annex IV of the Directive, compel exporting countries to provide “official statements” and supporting documents to confirm either (i) that the goods are pest-free, or (ii) that protective measures (e.g., “effective treatments”) are in place to control the pests and prevent them from spreading. In the words of the EU Commission, the Directive establishes “the obligation for non-EU countries to communicate some information for importing certain commodities under specific import requirements” (see “EU Plant Health Legislation”).

The current trouble arises from the most recent amendments to the Directive under Commission Implementing Directive (EU) 2019/523 of 21 March 2019 (the “Amendments”). Among other things, the Amendments introduce new requirements under Annex IV (e.g., points 16.7, 16.8, 16.9, and 16.10) and establish additional criteria for meeting existing requirements (e.g., point 16.5). For example, the new point 16.10 requires the submission of “official statements”, supported by certifications and other evidence, to confirm that apples, cherries, pears and cranberries “originating in Canada, Mexico and the USA” are either free from a certain moth larva or “fruitworm” (G. packardi Zeller) or subjected to “an effective treatment to ensure freedom” from the pest. There are also other new requirements that are broader in scope, covering fruits and vegetables imported into the European Union from other countries.

Article 2 of the Amendments requires EU Member States to apply “the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary” to implement the new requirements “from 1 September 2019”. Starting on this date, fruits and vegetables from countries that have not yet provided the “official statements” and supporting documents required under the Amendments will be subject to the import ban mandated under the Directive.

The European Commission has published summaries of the “official statements” and other “official information” submitted by non-EU countries, and these documents clearly indicate which requirements have not yet been met on a country-by-country basis. For example, the summary for Canada indicates that information has not yet been provided (or is “expected” to be provided) for a number of the new and amended requirements in Annex IV. Reports indicate that a notice document issued by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to industry stakeholders states that “the CFIA is working with industry to propose pest risk mitigation measures to the EU for these commodities, which may allow exports to resume”.

Tereposky & DeRose regularly provides advice on international trade barriers and trade-restrictive measures. Should you have any questions regarding this matter, we are at your disposal.

Daniel Hohnstein

Greg Tereposky

Modernized Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA) implemented and ready to enter into force on September 1st

On 21 August 2019, the regulations implementing the modernized CIFTA were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II. The Regulations are the final step in Canada’s implementation of the modernized agreement.

The CIFTA Rules of Origin Regulations repeal and replace the previous regulations and implement the modernized rules of origin that will now be used to determine when goods have undergone sufficient production to qualify for preferential tariff treatment. The rules of origin are simplified, liberalized, and brought up to date with Canada’s approach in more recent free trade agreements.

The Regulations Amending the CIFTA Rules of Origin for Casual Goods Regulations amend the previous regulations and replace the conditions under which goods acquired in Israel by travellers are considered originating goods and therefore entitled to preferential tariff treatment. Where travellers acquire goods in Israel that are either marked “made in Israel,” or not marked to the contrary, the traveller can claim the CIFTA tariff preference on importation of the goods into Canada.

The CIFTA Tariff Preference Regulations repeal and replace the previous regulations to allow eligible goods that are not shipped directly between Israel and Canada to retain the eligibility for preferential tariff rates provided the goods remain under customs control in third countries.

The Regulations Amending the Regulations Defining Certain Expressions for the Purposes of the Customs Tariff amend the previous regulations to replace the definition of “imported from Israel or another CIFTA beneficiary” for the purposes of the Customs Tariff. The current definition allows certain originating goods that have undergone some processing in the United States to be considered imported from Israel or another CIFTA beneficiary and therefore eligible for preferential treatment. Updating the definition is necessary, as the modernized CIFTA allows for processing to occur in an expanded list of non-parties (i.e. the European Union, the Member States of the European Free Trade Association, Jordan, Mexico as well as the United States). Therefore, even if the last step of production occurs in a country other than Canada or Israel, the good may still be considered originating under the modernized CIFTA.

The new modernized agreement will enter into force in Canada on September 1st.

Tereposky & DeRose regularly provides advice on regional trade agreements. Should you have any questions regarding this matter, we are at your disposal.

Daniel Hohnstein

Greg Tereposky

Welcome Back!

Stephanie Desjardins has completed her Clerkship at the Federal Court of Appeal of Canada. Tereposky & DeRose is elated to announce her return on, Tuesday August 6, 2019!

Stephanie represents clients in international trade and investment matters, including anti-dumping and countervailing duty proceedings, WTO and investor-state dispute settlement, customs matters, economic sanctions, government procurement and trade agreement implementation.

Prior to joining Tereposky & DeRose, she articled at the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, where she gained extensive experience in the areas of public procurement and customs appeals. Stephanie assists clients in both English and French.

To reach Stephanie:

T: 613-237-8680 (direct)
F: 613-701-2997