| 18 April 2024, Thursday |

Canada extends Ukraine tariff-free order, tightens access to sheltered farm sectors

Canada extended tariff-free access to Ukraine for the majority of goods, but also tightened access for the supply-managed egg, poultry, and dairy industries.

To support Kyiv as it defends itself against Russia, tariff relief for Ukrainian exports like steel, which was instituted temporarily a year ago, will remain for another year, according to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland. The restriction applies to products not already covered by the free trade agreement between the two nations.

The additional trade access was due to expire on Friday and the government’s decision on whether to extend it further was a test of Canada’s staunch backing of Ukraine.

Canadian poultry and egg farmers and processors had complained that Ukraine’s access made it harder to control imports and also raised concerns about the safety of Ukrainian food due to infrastructure damage.

Before the full-scale war, Ukraine was the sixth-largest chicken meat exporter, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

There’s little evidence though that Ukraine has shipped much of such farm products. During the first five months of the expanded trade access last year, finance officials recorded only one C$6,000 ice cream shipment from Ukraine, they told a committee of legislators.

Canadian farmers produce eggs, poultry and dairy under a system that limits production and exposes them to only minimal import competition under quotas. Freeland said that Canada would allow Ukraine to continue shipping those products tariff-free within World Trade Organization quotas, but would reimpose duties on shipments above those quotas.

Ihor Michalchyshyn, CEO of the diaspora group Ukrainian Canadian Congress, had urged the government to continue Ukraine’s full duty-free access to support its farm industry, particularly after a recent dam collapse.

“While we welcome the extension of the tariff waiver on some Ukrainian goods, we are disappointed that Canada excluded some key agricultural industries,” he said in an email.

  • Reuters