Canada. #UK; #CETA; #GlobalTrade
Ottawa/Canadian-Media: Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, along with Elizabeth Truss, the United Kingdom (UK)’s Secretary of State for International Trade, announced Nov 21 the successful conclusion of talks for the Canada-UK Trade Continuity Agreement towards negotiating a comprehensive free trade agreement, media reports said.
Image credit: Twitter handle of Canada Trade
In view of the departure of UK from the European Union (EU), Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will no longer apply to the United Kingdom beginning January 1, 2021.
But CETA continues to govern Canada-EU trade by the successful conclusion of Canada-UK Trade Continuity Agreement.
Mary Ng. Image credit: Twitter handle
UK, the third largest market worldwide in foreign direct investment, and science and technology was Canada’s largest merchandise export market in Europe in 2019,
The government of Canada's consultation is open with Canadians and the provinces and territories, before going back to the negotiating table with the UK and will always prioritize the needs of Canadian workers and businesses.
The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service continues to serve companies doing business in the United Kingdom and in the EU.
#Canada; #ICCC; #SmallBusinessWeek; #CanadaPM; #PramodGoyal; #MaryNg
Toronto, Oct 23 (Canadian-Media): Inviting Canadians to join him in the observation of Small Business Week from Oct 18 -24, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau encourages everyone in his message to buy local, order take out, and show as much support as you can for our small businesses and added, “Only together can we defeat this virus and build a more resilient Canada.”
Image credit: Twitter handle
‘Small Businesses are the backbone of the Canadian economy employing 70% of the Canadian workforce and 54.2% of the economic output produced by the business sector’ said Pramod Goyal, President of Indo- Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC) during its observance of Small Business Week, and added,
“With the right information and guidance, small businesses are easy to start and sustain.”
Pramod Goyal. Image credit: Twitter handle
Emerging as the largest organization of Indo-Canadian small business owners, ICCC had been organizing the Small Business Symposium to observe the Small Business Week. But unfortunately, this year, the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown has forced the ICCC with just a webinar.
With no signs of abating the pandemic continuously ravaging the global society and the global economy, the extermination of small businesses across the world is at risk.
But according to a survey conducted in late September 2020 by Ipsos for RBC Small Business, Canadian small business owners are counting on their resilience and optimism to help them weather the COVID-19 storm.
These inherent strengths and optimism of small business owners in Canada revealed by the statistics about their future is largely true of small business owners globally, said Goyal and added that he is reminded of the compact line of the Irish poet and humourist Oscar Wilde:
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars,” and most of the Canadian small business owners, most of them are looking at the stars.
Offering a glimpse into the characteristics that help to define Canadian entrepreneurs, nine in ten (87%) business owners say they can recuperate quickly when faced with setbacks (compared to 72% of the overall Canadian population), and most (88%) are confident in their ability to deliver creative solutions to solve problems (compared to 73% of the overall Canadian population).
“Small businesses are the foundation of our communities and the backbone of our economy,” said Mary Ng, Canada’s Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion & International Trade.
Represent an incredible 98 percent of all Canadian businesses, said Mary Ng, small businesses employ near 8.5 million hard-working Canadians to keep our communities and our economy vibrating.
Mary Ng. Image credit: Twitter handle
The growing confidence of small business owners is mainly due to the information technology, in maintaining client relations, keeping books of accounts, and storing records on the cloud, enabling small businesses to compete with large conglomerates and emerge victoriously.
Mandated to create opportunities for small business owners, ICCC facilitates entrepreneurship to all levels of government, federal, provincial, and city, encouraging small businesses including remodeling and forming a business plan, identifying the potential market, arranging the seed capital, sustaining growth, and expanding to other markets.
#Canada; #InvestIndia2020VirtualConference; IndiaPMNarendraModi; #IndiaCanadaBilateralTies
Ottawa, Oct 11 (Canadian-Media): India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi said during his inaugural address of the virtual Invest India 2020 Conference organised in Canada on October 8, 2020 that trade and investment linkages, which form an integral art of the multi-faceted relationship drive India-Canada bilateral ties by shared democratic values and many common interests.
Narendra Modi. Image credit: Facebook page
Invest India is an annual conference organised by Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. in association with CIBC and other leading Indian and Canadian private sector players, which brings together investment and industry leaders from India and Canada with a focus on the investment and trade potential between India and Canada.
With a political stable India, with his investment and business friendly policies, skilled talent pool, has shown resilience, despite the pandemic to emerge as a land of solutions and opportunities.
Besides providing relief and stimulus package for poor and the small businesses, said Modi, India has liberalised its Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policies, created a friendly tax regime for Sovereign Wealth and Pension Funds and has significantly reformed its robust Bond market. Besides, said Modi, India has monetized assets across various sectors, such as Airports, Railways, Highways, Power Transmission lines, etc.
Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) & Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs) have been fully enabled for monetization of assets.
Complimenting Prem Watsa, Chairman and CEO of Toronto based Fairfax Financial Holdings for creating this forum, Modi said that he was glad of the exposure of Canada's investors and businesses to the investment and business opportunities in India.
Embarking on a journey of deregulation and decriminalisation of various offences under the companies act, India has also brought reforms in the field of education, labour and agriculture.
Modi said that with some of its largest pension funds and mature funds, Canada had invested over US$ 50 billion in India in a range of sectors and concluded India, being a place where Canada could look for partners in the field of education, invest in manufacturing or services and collaborate in the field of agriculture.
Canada-India Relations. Image credit: Facebook page
"India’s vibrant democracy and conducive ease of doing business environment make it an attractive investment destination", said India PM Narendra Modi
Speaking about the upward trajectory of India-Canada bilateral relations, the High Commissioner of India to Canada, Ajay Bisaria spoke about the the growing Canadian investments in India, to create investment friendly climate and the opportunities available for Canadian companies in India.
A range of issues concerning India-Canada commercial relationship, the High Commissioner of Canada to India, Nadir Patel said, which would be worth $100 billion in the coming years, for Canadian and Indian investors and companies to succeed and continue to thrive in both markets.
Several India success stories and detailed reforms introduced by Government of India to attract investments then followed.
This year, due to COVID-19 pandemic, the event was held virtually. More than 3000 investors, business entities, Chambers of Commerce and influencers from Canada and India participated in the various sessions. Prime Minister's inaugural remarks were broadcast live on digital media and attracted an audience of more than 50,000 people.
#UN; #UNEP; #Covid19; #Seafarers; #KeyWorkers; #Covid19
Geneva/UN, Sep 25 (Canadian-Media): The UN Secretary-General has again appealed for governments to act on behalf of hundreds of thousands of seafarers and other maritime workers stuck at sea for endless months, in some cases more than a year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seafarers are on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic, playing an essential role in maintaining the flow of vital goods, such as food and medical supplies. Image credit: IMO
António Guterres on Thursday pressed authorities to formally designate these personnel as “key workers” to facilitate safe crew changes, allowing fatigued seafarers to be repatriated and replaced by colleagues who are awaiting deployment.
“Despite the unprecedented conditions brought about by the pandemic, seafarers have continued to tirelessly support the often invisible global logistics chain”, the UN chief said, in his message for World Maritime Day, observed annually on 24 September.
This year, the focus is on ‘Sustainable Shipping for a Sustainable Planet’ which underlines how the industry will play a central role in both post-pandemic recovery and future economic growth.
Seafarers critical to global trade
As Mr. Guterres pointed out, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the professionalism and sacrifice of the more than one million men and women who serve in the world’s merchant fleet.
Seafarers play a critical role in shipping, which accounts for the movement of more than 80 per cent of global trade including food, basic goods and vital medical supplies needed during the pandemic.
The UN and partners estimate that more than 300,000 members of this hidden workforce currently are trapped at sea due to travel restrictions, border closures and other measures implemented by governments to contain COVID-19 spread.
They said the situation is unfolding into an urgent humanitarian, safety and economic crisis.
‘The show had to go on’
Captain Hedi Marzougui was commanding a merchant vessel in the Far East when the pandemic broke out. Life on board immediately became difficult. Crew changes, shore leaves and medical leaves were suspended, and it was hard to get vital supplies or technical support to the ship.
“Port nations changed regulations on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Severe strains began to show amongst my crew almost immediately,” he said, speaking at a virtual event to mark World Maritime Day, held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
“Not knowing when, or if, we would be returning home took a severe mental toll on my crew and myself. We felt we were being treated as second-class citizens, with no input or control on our lives. However, even under these stressing conditions, the show had to go on.”
‘Collateral victims’ of the pandemic?
For some seafarers, the show appears to have no end. The Secretary-General noted that some tours of duty have now stretched more than 17 months: far beyond international standards.
Besides renewing his appeal for Governments to declare seafarers as essential workers, Mr. Guterres urged authorities to implement protocols developed by UN agencies, alongside the International Chamber of Shipping and the International Transport Workers’ Federation, that would facilitate crew rotations.
The protocols also call for no new work extensions beyond 11 months, diverting vessels to ports where crew changes can take place, and recognition of internationally-designated seafarers’ documents.
Kitack Lim, Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and a former seafarer himself, stressed that it is high time for action. “We all depend on seafarers,” he said. “They should not be the collateral victims of the pandemic.”
‘Catastrophic’ impacts at sea and on land
The head of the International Labour Organization (ILO) warned that failure to resolve the crisis would not only be “catastrophic” for seafarers and compromise maritime safety, it could potentially lead to a breakdown of global supply chains.
“We have a plan of action, and I think our next steps must simply be… to increase the pressures on governments so that the perfectly feasible action is taken”, said Guy Ryder, the ILO Director-General.
He reported that Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) from 30 major companies wrote to the Secretary-General this week, requesting action.
Some 12,000 companies worldwide have joined the UN Global Compact, which supports businesses in aligning their operations with universal principles on human rights, labour, the environment and ending corruption.
CEO and Executive Director Sanda Ojiambo pressed for political action, stating that without seafarers, global supply chains would simply cease functioning.
“Truly, for the sake of men and women like Captain Marzougui and his crew, and in the interest of safe and orderly shipping and trade, let us all make our national authorities know that we stand with the seafarers,” she said.
#IMF; #ECF; #IslamicRepublicOfMauritania; #FinacialAssistance
Washington DC, Sep 6 (Canadian-Media): The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) completed Sep 2 the fifth review under the three-year Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement for the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, IMF reports said.
IMF. Image credit: Twitter handle
The arrangement was approved on December 6, 2017 with total access of SDR 115.92 million (about US$164 million at current exchange rates),
In the review, the Board also approved the authorities’ request for an augmentation of access of SDR 20.24 million (about US$28.7 million or 15.7 percent of quota) to address higher-than-anticipated financing needs stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. The augmentation brings total access under the ECF arrangement to SDR 136.16 million (about US$193 million or 105.7 percent of quota). The completion of this review allows Mauritania to draw SDR 36.80 million (about US$52.2 million or 28.6 percent of quota).
Earlier this year, the authorities had requested emergency support under the IMF’s Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) to help address Mauritania’s urgent balance of payments need due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On April 23, 2020, the IMF’s Executive Board approved the disbursement of SDR 95.680 million (about US$130 million at the time or 74.3 percent of quota), thereby providing space to increase spending on health services and social protection programs and helping to catalyze additional donor support (Press Release No. 20/186).
Following the Executive Board discussion, Mr. Mitsuhiro Furusawa, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, made the following statement:
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impose severe human, economic, and social hardships in Mauritania. Economic activity has slowed down sharply and the outlook has weakened. The overall budget deficit could widen significantly, giving rise to large balance of payments and fiscal financing needs. Risks are tilted to the downside given risks of a more protracted global and domestic COVID-19 outbreak.
“Despite the difficult environment, performance under the ECF-supported program has been strong. The authorities are implementing prudent economic policies and advancing with reforms, albeit with some delays, to ensure macroeconomic stability, foster an inclusive recovery, and reduce inequalities and poverty. Their swift response to contain and mitigate the effects of the pandemic is welcome. Prioritizing health spending and targeted support to the most vulnerable households and sectors of the economy should continue. The temporary loosening of the policy stance is justified and implementation of the national COVID-19 response plan should proceed expeditiously within the 2020 supplementary budget. The central bank has eased monetary conditions and should continue to monitor banking sector soundness. The authorities are committed to full transparency and reporting of resources deployed for the emergency response and to publishing procurement contracts, auditing crisis-mitigation spending as soon as possible, and publishing those results.
“The authorities’ continued commitment to the medium-term objectives of the economic reform program supported by the ECF arrangement is welcome. The program aims at creating fiscal space by mobilizing domestic revenues and strengthening public financial management with a view to increasing priority spending on education, health, social protection, and infrastructure while maintaining prudent borrowing policies. The authorities should return to primary budget surpluses as soon as conditions normalize to ensure debt sustainability, given the high risk of debt distress.
“The IMF’s continued financial assistance, along with other financing from the international community, will help Mauritania respond effectively to the COVID-19 crisis by providing space to increase spending on health services and social protection programs. Further external support will be needed to close prospective financing needs next year.”
#UN; #DigitalEconomy; #SustainableDevelopment; #Covid19
UN, Aug 27 (Canadian-Media): A UN task force set up to look into the risks and benefits of the digital economy, has concluded that it could have a transformational impact on sustainable development, and empower citizens, both as taxpayers and investors.
Statisticians in Turkmenistan process data for analysis. Image credit: World Bank
The report, “People’s Money: Harnessing Digitalization to Finance a Sustainable Future”, was released by the UN Secretary-General’s Task Force on Digital Finance on Wednesday.
The Task Force, led by UN development chief Achim Steiner, and made up of senior figures from the tech sector, financial institutions, governments, and UN bodies, was set up by UN Secretary-General António Guterres in 2018, to improve understanding of the benefits and risks of the fast-moving financial technology (fintech) and digital finance sectors.
The initiative is part of the UN chief’s strategy to support financing for the 2030 Agenda, the UN’s blueprint for a better future, for people and the planet. The financing needs for the Agenda, Mr. Guterres said in 2018, are in the order of between $5 and $7 trillion per year. The shift to digital, conclude the authors of the People’s Money report, could provide the means to meet those projected costs.
“Digital technologies, which are revolutionizing financial markets, can be a game-changer in meeting our shared objectives”, said Mr. Guterres in response to the launch of the report. “The Task Force on Digital Financing of the Sustainable Development Goals provides leadership to harness the digital revolution.”
The COVID-19 acceleration effect
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the popularity of digital tools has grown rapidly, and demonstrates the potential of digital finance to provide relief for millions around the world, support businesses and protect jobs and livelihoods.
Speaking to UN News, Mr. Steiner outlined the acceleration effect of the pandemic. “Things that we anticipated would happen over the next few years, have happened in weeks. The pandemic has allowed governments to see the importance of overcoming traditional limitations, and identifying and reaching the most vulnerable.”
Examples include digital cash transfers, which have helped millions of people in Pakistan, the connection of schools to broadband, and governments and parliaments connecting remotely in ways that are now common practice, he added.
The widespread adoption of smartphones, continued Mr. Steiner, puts powerful digital tools in the hands of more than a billion people, allowing them to work, socialize, and manage their finances. He emphasized the importance of remodelling the financial system, to underscore the fact that the trillions of dollars’ worth of investment flowing around the world, ultimately come from ordinary people.
“Citizens are the owners of this wealth, which is made up of pensions, and savings. The Task Force was keen to bring back the notion that the citizen is at the centre of the economy. Citizens need greater transparency, and to have a say over where their pension contributions go. And, as well as returns for investors, we also need to see public purpose benefits. Digital finance is a significant opportunity for citizens to re-engage, because this is a way to address major challenges, such as climate change.”
Digitalization is a choice
The report identifies five ways for harnessing digitalization, which cover much of global finance. Firstly, the huge amounts of money flowing around the world needs to be invested in a way that supports the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda. Public finances need to be more effective and accountable. Savings need to be invested for long-term development projects, using digital tools. And there needs to be more financing for small and medium-sized businesses, which are crucial for generating employment and income.
A key message of the report is that digitalization, and the way that it is used, is a choice, not an inevitability. There are considerable digital risks, such as increased exclusion, discrimination and inequalities. The five action areas point the way for governments to use digitalization for good.
#UN; #ILO; #HumanRights; #ILO'sDecentWorkAgenda
Geneva/ILO, Aug 9 (Canadian-Media): The International Labour Organization (ILO) is devoted to promoting social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights, pursuing its founding mission that social justice is essential to universal and lasting peace.
Image credit: ILO
Only tripartite U.N. agency, the ILO brings together governments, employers and workers representatives of 187 member States , to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men.
Today, the ILO's Decent Work agenda helps advance the economic and working conditions that give all workers, employers and governments a stake in lasting peace, prosperity and progress.
Four strategic objectives at the heart of the Decent Work agenda
USDeptOfState; #COVID19PrivateSectorEngagement&PartnershipFund; #Covid19Response
U.S. Department of State, Aug 5 (Canadian-Media): A new COVID-19 Private Sector Engagement & Partnership Fund of $10 million is being launched by the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to promote the ongoing response efforts to help global vulnerable overcome the devastation inflicted by this deadly virus, U.S. Department of State said.
Image credit: Twitter handle
Besides strengthening private sector efforts to respond to the economic impacts of the virus, the Fund will also help create innovative private sector solutions to mitigate the secondary impacts of COVID-19 in developing countries. The most promising of these solutions would then be seed-funded within the context of Department of State and USAID global programming.
With this announcement, a notice of funding opportunity to the private sector is being issued by the Department of State to highlight approaches, products, and ideas in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that have the potential to scale.
This opportunity would facilitate the Department of State and USAID to connect potential private sector partners with the appropriate domestic offices and overseas missions to leverage synergies between private sector and the U.S. government to scale and deliver results.
As of the time of this announcement, a commitment had been made by the Department of State and USAID of more than $1.6 billion for the global COVID-19 response since the emergence of the outbreak.
#CanadaUSLandBorder; #LegerMarketingPoll; #CanadaPrefersClosedBorder; #CBSA
Ottawa, Aug 3 (Canadian-Media): Once wide open, Canada-U.S. land border which closed on March 21 to non-essential traffic, would remain shut until at least Aug. 21. affecting the lives of many people on both sides, media reports said.
Peace Arch US-Canada Border. Image credit: Wikipedia
Although Canadians can still fly to the U.S., but Canada prohibits United States (U.S.) visitors from entering via all modes of transport.
The border closure agreement between Canada and the U.S. is reviewed every 30 days.
CBC News has learnt from several experts in different fields that they predict the border won't reopen until sometime next year due to the continuous surge of COVID-19 in many US states.
"It doesn't seem to be getting any better in the U.S.," said U.S. Immigration lawyer Len Saunders, whose office sits close to the Canadian border in Blaine, Wash. He believes the border could stay closed for another six months.
"There's really no reason why the Canadian government, at this point, would want to open it up and subject Canadians to an increased rate of COVID infections," CBC News reported.
According to the Leger Marketing poll 1,500 Canadians were asked last month if they thought the Canada-U.S. border should reopen at the end of July, 86 percent of respondents said they were opposed to the idea.
"As long as Canadians don't feel safe, then why force open that border when there's no strong political logic to doing it?" said Moshe Lander, a professor at Concordia University in Montreal, reported by CBC News.
He predicts a possible border reopening in middle to late 2021, subject to the virus being under control at that point.
Travel restrictions were recently loosened by the federal government to allow Americans to visit immediate family in Canada, including dependent children, spouses and common-law partners.
Couples who have lived together for at least one year qualify as common-law and this should be further proved with documentation showing a shared address.
Some separated couples who don't meet the criteria have opted to tie the knot.
Canadians can fly to the U.S. to get married, or both partners can travel to the Peace Arch border crossing between B.C. and Washington state.
A shared Canada-U.S. park is the neutral zone in the border crossing.
Although the Canadian section of the park is closed, Canadians can still enter the U.S. section of the park for the day to visit with their American partner or even get married.
Americans are allowed to drive through Canada to Alaska for essential reasons, such as for work or to return home. However, they're not to make unnecessary stops along the way.
The CBSA introduced stricter rules on Friday for Americans driving to Alaska.
They must enter Canada through one of five designated border crossings and hang a CBSA-issued tag from their car's rear view mirror that lays out the purpose and rules of their trip.
Before exiting Canada for Alaska, drivers must check in once again with the CBSA.
#Microsoft; #TikTok; #US; #ByteDance; #Security; #Transparency
New York, Aug 3 (Canadian-Media): Following a conversation between Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and United States (US) President Donald Trump, Microsoft is prepared to continue discussions to explore a purchase of TikTok in the US, Official Microsoft blog said.
Microsoft. Image credit: Twitter handle
Microsoft added that it is committed to complete security review while acquiring TikTok and will move quickly to pursue discussions with TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance and added that it aims to complete these discussions no later than September 15, 2020.
ByteDance. Image credit: Twitter handle
During this process, Microsoft said it looks forward to continuing dialogue with the US Government, including with the President.
Over the weekend, ByteDance released a statement on Chinese social media, saying the firm faces all kinds of “complex and unimaginable difficulties,” alluding to the U.S.-China trade tensions, plus cultural differences.
After the acquisition of TikTok services, Microsoft said it may invite other American investors to participate on a minority basis in this purchase.
The building of operating model for the TikTok service would be based on transparency to users as well as appropriate security oversight by governments in these countries, said Microsoft.
TikTok. Image credit: Twitter handle
TikTok company said Sunday that its U.S. user data is stored in the U.S., with strict controls on employee access, and its biggest investors come from the U.S.
"We are committed to protecting our users' privacy and safety as we continue working to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform," a TikTok spokesperson said.
Among other measures, Microsoft said that it would ensure that all private data of TikTok’s American users is transferred to and remains in the US.
Microsoft added that any US data currently stored or backed-up outside the US would be deleted from servers outside the country after it is transferred.
"Microsoft fully appreciates the importance of addressing the President's concerns. It is committed to acquiring TikTok subject to a complete security review and providing proper economic benefits to the United States, including the United States Treasury," Microsoft said in a statement.
The announcement followed when Trump said on Friday that he would soon ban TikTok in the United States.
"The President, when he makes his decision, will make sure that everything we have done drives us as close to zero risk for the American people," Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State said. "That's the mission set that he laid out for all of us when we get — we began to evaluate this now several months back. We're closing in on a solution. And I think you will see the president's announcement shortly," CBC News reported.