Cooperation in the Pacific Rim by Jakob Polacsek, World Economic Forum (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/worldeconomicforum/48179628441

Cooperation in the Pacific Rim by Jakob Polacsek, World Economic Forum (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/worldeconomicforum/48179628441

Digital Trade

Toronto History from Toronto, Canada, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lester_Pearson_at_Constellation_Hotel_%2850540638176%29.jpg

The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 155: Mark Swartz on the Harm Caused by Canada’s Copyright Term Extension

Many Canadians started the new year with an unwelcome surprise as they learned that Canada had extended the term of copyright by additional 20 years with no mitigation measures or efforts to limit the harmful effects of the policy. That the extension did not get much attention was seemingly by design as the government buried it in a budget implementation bill and posted no news releases on it. Mark Swartz is a Scholarly Publishing Librarian at Queen’s University and has been an active participant in copyright reform issues for many years. He recently published an op-ed in the Toronto Star and Hill Times identifying both the harms of term extension and potential mitigation measures. He joins the Law Bytes podcast to talk about Canada’s approach to copyright term extension, the impact on the public domain, and what could come next.

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February 6, 2023 1 comment Podcasts
AMLO, Biden, Trudeau by Eneas De Troya https://flic.kr/p/2oaZzhz (CC BY 2.0)

“Ongoing Concerns”: U.S. Objections to Canadian Digital Policies Spreads to the Senate

U.S. concerns with Canadian digital policy continues to mount with both the U.S. Administration and Senators from both parties raising fears of discrimination. U.S. pressure seems likely to grow as the issue emerges as a major irritant in the bi-lateral trade relationship with Canada’s most important trading partner. With U.S. President Joe Biden scheduled to visit Ottawa later this winter, it seems likely that digital policy – particularly a proposed digital services tax, Bill C-11, and Bill C-18 – will be on the agenda at the meeting.

The latest signals came last week at a bilateral meeting between U.S. and Canadian trade officials. The U.S. readout of the meeting states:

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January 31, 2023 7 comments News
USTR and Canada Readouts, November 30, 2022, https://ustr.gov/about-us/policy-offices/press-office/press-releases/2022/november/readout-ambassador-katherine-tais-meeting-canadas-minister-international-trade-export-promotion, https://www.canada.ca/en/global-affairs/news/2022/11/minister-ng-meets-united-states-trade-representative-katherine-tai.html

A Tale of Two Readouts: U.S. Escalates Trade Concerns With Canadian Digital Policy as Canada Seeks To Downplay the Issue

Canadian International Trade Minister Mary Ng and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai met yesterday to discuss Canada-U.S. Trade issues and concerns regarding Canada’s digital policy – most notably a proposed digital sales tax and Bills C-11 and C-18 – continue to mount. The U.S. raised digital policy concern over the summer, specifically citing Bill C-11 with a reference to “pending legislation in the Canadian Parliament that could impact digital streaming services.” The latest readout suggests that the concerns are growing, as the U.S. now cites both Bills C-11 and C-18 by raising “pending legislation in the Canadian Parliament that could impact digital streaming services and online news sharing and discriminate against U.S. businesses.”

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December 1, 2022 3 comments News
USTR Ambassador Tai gives keynote in Geneva on the future role of the WTO by US Mission Geneva https://flic.kr/p/2mB2yiF (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The Bill C-11 Hearings Are Back, Part Four: The Risks of a Trade Challenge and Tariff Retaliation

The first three posts in this series on Bill C-11 have focused on the risks of regulating user content, the risks to Canadian creators, and the risks of increased consumer costs and less competition. Today’s post identifies another risk with the bill: the prospect of a trade challenge under the CUSMA that could lead to billions on tariff retaliation that target some of Canada’s most important economic sectors. The possibility of a U.S. trade battle over the bill is no idle speculation even if downplayed this week by an official from Global Affairs. This summer, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai raised the issue directly with Canadian Minister of International Trade Mary Ng. While the Canadian readout of the meeting notably excluded any reference to the issue, it was cited in the U.S. readout of the meeting:

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September 16, 2022 5 comments News
P20211118AS-1520-1 by Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz https://flic.kr/p/2mZvc8a United States government work

Bill C-11 Now a Trade Issue: U.S. Warns Canada About Online Streaming Act Concerns

Bill C-11, the government’s online streaming legislation, has caught the attention of the U.S. government, which raised it as a concern during a recent meeting between U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Canadian Minister of International Trade Mary Ng. The issue is cited in the U.S. readout of the meeting, though the Canadian readout of the same meeting notably excludes any reference to the issue. The readout specifically states that “Ambassador Tai expressed concern about Canada’s proposed digital service tax and pending legislation in the Canadian Parliament that could impact digital streaming services.” The reference to concerns with a digital services tax has been raised before, but the inclusion of Bill C-11 is new. The concerns may reflect Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez’s decision to regulate user generated content, an approach not found in any other country in the world.

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July 13, 2022 15 comments News