Hon. Donald M. Fleming (Minister of Finance):
Mr. Speaker, I wish to table three copies of an interim agreement between Canada and the United States relating to rates of duty, signed today at Geneva. This agreement embodies the results of negotiations between representatives of the two countries during the multilateral tariff conference which opened at Geneva in September, 1960, under the auspices of the general agreement on tariffs and trade.
In recent years the value of the two way trade between Canada and the United States represented by the items contained in the two schedules to the interim agreement has been about $130 million to $140 million per annum. All of the items in the United States schedule provide for reductions in rate, and they apply to Canadian exports which averaged about $65 million in the three year period 1958-60. The Canadian schedule provides for reductions in duties applying to imports from the United States averaging about $63 million per annum in the same three year period. In addition, Canada bound existing free entry provisions relating to a considerable number of farm implements and other items of production equipment which had not previously been bound, and for which import statistics are not separately available.
In addition to this agreement with Canada, the United States has entered into similar agreements with several other contracting parties to the GATT, including Britain, the European economic community, Japan, Sweden, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Portugal and Switzerland.
Indirect benefits of very considerable significance to Canadian exporters will accrue to Canada under the operation of the most favoured nation principle by virtue of these interim agreements between the United States and some of the third countries I have just listed.
The multilateral effect of these agreements between Canada and the United States and between the United States and third countries will be to open greatly enhanced prospects 26207-1-99
for Canadian exports. Reduction in duties arising from this series of agreements will provide benefits to almost every sector of the Canadian economy.
The interim agreement tabled today relates to the bilateral tariff negotiations between Canada and the United States under the so-called "Dillon round" of the multilateral tariff conference at Geneva. The results of Canada's bilateral negotiations with countries other than the United States, some of which are not yet concluded, will be announced in due course and will appear as part of the official conference protocols.
The interim agreement between Canada and the United States takes effect as of the date of signature. The textual part of the agreement as tabled is in English and in French, as is the schedule of tariff concessions granted by Canada.
The schedules setting forth concessions received and granted by Canada will enter into force 30 days after exchange of notification between the two countries or at a date to be agreed upon, and will later be incorporated into the official conference protocols which cannot be issued at Geneva until the conclusion of the series of bilateral negotiations. On issuance of the conference protocols the interim agreement will cease to have force or effect.
I now table a further document which summarizes in English and in French the two schedules to the interim agreement. Hon. members will find in the summary of concessions received by Canada under the agreement three figures in brackets. The first is the duty levied at present by the United States; the second is the duty leviable after the first stage of the reduction; the third is the duty finally leviable, that is, the fully reduced rate.
The reductions in United States rates resulting from the negotiations will, almost without exception, come into force by two annual stages, the first such reduction resulting in what is described in the U.S.A. schedule as the "intermediate" rate, and the second as the "final". Precise information is not yet available as to the exact date or dates on which the President of the United States will, by proclamation, bring the reduced rates into force.
Full details of the benefits accruing to Canada under the most favoured nation principle from the series of bilateral agreements
Tabling of Agreement
between, the United States and third countries will be made public when the provisions of the numerous schedules of concessions to these agreements have been analysed.
I believe, Mr. Speaker, that in relation to the coming into effect of these mutual tariff reductions hon. members are aware that the governor in council possesses power under section 10 of the Customs Tariff to make such reductions in duties on goods imported into Canada from any other country or countries as may be deemed reasonable by way of compensation for concessions granted by any such country or countries. It will therefore be open to the government to bring these reductions in the Canadian tariff into effect on the date to be agreed upon following exercise by the President of the United States of the powers conferred on him by congress under existing legislation in that regard.