International Trade Minister Ed Fast informed the Canadian Trucking Alliance the government is examining the legality of the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) proposal to substantially increase Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) inspection fees.
In particular, the ministry is reviewing a legal opinion submitted to the government by the CTA, calling the document “helpful.”
The legal opinion, conducted by Gowlings on behalf of the CTA, suggested APHIS’ agricultural quarantine inspection (AQI) fees are inconsistent with NAFTA and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Among other criticisms, Gowlings refers to the fees as a “disguised restriction on trade by placing Canadian manufacturers and exporters at a significant disadvantage as compared to their US counterparts, who do not incur such fees.”
In a letter to CTA, a ministry official echoed many of CTA’s concerns with the proposed fee increase.
“Minister Ed Fast is concerned the proposed increases to the fees by APHIS would impose disproportionate costs on Canadian exporters and commercial transporters, with detrimental effects on our cross-border trade and ultimately on the prosperity of both countries.”