Retail Council of Canada applauds tariff elimination pilot project in federal budget

OTTAWA, March 22, 2013 /CNW/ - Retail Council of Canada (RCC) applauds Minister Flaherty for tabling a budget that will begin to help retailers better compete in the Canadian market.

"We thank Minister Flaherty and his officials for working with us this past year to review some of the outdated, and unnecessary tariffs that still exist in Canada," said Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO, RCC.  "While there is still a lot of work to be done in this area, we are very pleased to see this first step toward leveling the playing field for Canadian retailers."

In the Fall of 2011, Minister Flaherty asked the Senate Committee on National Finance to study the reasons for the price differences between Canada and the US.  On February 6 of this year, the Senate released its report where, among other things, it recommended the government review tariffs, "with the objective of reducing the price discrepancies for certain products between Canada and the United States."

During the course of the Senate study, RCC worked with the Department of Finance on a "pilot project" to identify specific tariff items as priorities for review.  "We looked at areas where there were high tariffs; where there was little to no domestic production; and where we felt that we were aligned with other government initiatives," said Brisebois.  "What we came up with was a proposal for the elimination of a number of tariffs, including those announced in yesterday's Economic Action Plan.  And while the announcement does not address the entire basket of goods that are subject to high tariffs, it is a good start and a demonstration of the government's recognition of one of the key reasons for price differences in Canada."

According to the budget announcement, tariffs will be eliminated on baby clothes and sporting and athletic equipment.  The budget also challenges wholesalers, distributors and retailers to pass the savings on to consumers.   "RCC is pleased to work with the Department of Finance to monitor how the market reacts to these changes with the intent to continue to push until all outdated and unnecessary tariffs are eliminated," said Brisebois.  "We are very encouraged by Minister Flaherty's statements yesterday that clearly indicate his willingness to do so."

Yesterday's budget also commits the government to ensuring that proposed changes to the General Preferential Tariff  (GPT)  do not adversely affect retailers who import textiles and apparel by amending the Rules of Origin for Leased Developed Country Tariff Rules.  "Changes to the Rules of Origin are something that RCC had been advocating for," said Brisebois.  "There is still some work to be done with regards to the proposed changes to the GPT but yesterday's announcement is a clear signal from Minister Flaherty that he is listening to us and willing to work to find solutions that help Canadian retailers compete in this global environment."

Retail Council of Canada (www.retailcouncil.org) is the Voice of Retail. Founded in 1963, RCC is a not-for-profit association which represents more than 45,000 stores of all retail formats, including department, grocery, independent merchants, regional and national specialty chains, and online merchants.

SOURCE Retail Council of Canada



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