Coalition of Canadian Business Groups Demands Action on Internal Trade

    OTTAWA, Aug. 1 /CNW/ - A coalition of leading Canadian business groups is
taking its concerns on internal trade to the upcoming Premiers' meeting in
Moncton. The group urges the Council of the Federation to fix the Agreement on
Internal Trade's (AIT) dispute resolution procedures to ensure governments
fully comply with panel rulings.
    "Making changes to policies to improve trade and mobility between
provinces will promote entrepreneurship and enable businesses to grow and
flourish in Canada, establishing them as competitive players in the
international marketplace," said Michael Murphy, Acting President and CEO of
the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
    Based on its experience, the coalition has concluded that the AIT is
limited, complex and inaccessible to businesses and others who have real trade
issues. Its worst flaw is the absence of any consequences if governments fail
to comply with their obligations and with trade panels' findings in a timely
    "Quebec's non-compliance with the panel finding that its measures
restricting the sale of coloured margarine in Quebec is a barrier to trade and
should be repealed is just one example of the AIT dispute resolution
mechanism's ineffectiveness," said Sean McPhee, President of Vegetable Oil
Industry of Canada (VOIC).
    Canada needs a fully functioning and effective domestic market framework
to be a real player in international trade. To establish a domestic trade
regime that is comprehensive, unconditional and has consequences, the
coalition calls on the Council of the Federation to:

    -   Approve and make binding changes to the AIT's dispute resolution
        mechanism so that it includes real consequences if governments fail
        to comply with their domestic trade obligations, including providing
        a mechanism for the private sector complainant to seek real remedies
        once a panel has found a government measure to be trade restrictive;

    -   Make a binding agreement that this revitalized AIT will apply to all
        government measures without qualification or exception other than for
        legitimate purposes as outlined in the Agreement, which does not
        include any form of trade restriction or protectionism.

    "Premiers need to show their commitment to an open, efficient and
predictable domestic market by reforming the AIT's dispute resolution
mechanism and eliminating internal trade barriers," said Anthony Ariganello,
CPA (Delaware), FCGA, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Certified
General Accountants Association of Canada (CGA-Canada).
    Coalition members include: The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian
Council of Chief Executives, the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, the
Canadian Petroleum Products Institute, the Canadian Restaurant and
Foodservices Association, the Certified General Accountants Association of
Canada, the Dairy Processors Association of Canada and the Vegetable Oil
Industry of Canada.

For further information:

For further information: Carole Presseault, Vice-President, Government
and Regulatory Affairs, CGA-Canada, Cell: (613) 796-0422, Email:

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