Minister of International Trade Mary Ng responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. Ng says Canada has been given multiple promises from European leaders that new export controls on COVID-19 vaccines won’t stop Canada’s vaccine shipments. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle

Minister of International Trade Mary Ng responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. Ng says Canada has been given multiple promises from European leaders that new export controls on COVID-19 vaccines won’t stop Canada’s vaccine shipments. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle

Canada prepping trade options in case EU breaks promise to keep vaccines flowing

Canadian officials say Europe has promised export rules won’t prevent shipments

Canada is putting together possible options for leverage if Europe breaks its promise not to cut off Canada’s shipments of COVID-19 vaccines.

International Trade Minister Mary Ng said Monday that multiple European leaders have promised Canada that new export controls on vaccines will not prevent Canada’s shipments from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna from going out as planned.

The European Union threw down the new policy last week, mostly amid a fight with AstraZeneca over its inability to fill Europe’s contract for its vaccine in the first three months of the year. But Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are also cutting back some shipments to Europe because of production delays.

Europe invested more than C$4 billion to help get COVID-19 vaccines developed and mass produced and the world’s largest trading bloc says that while it is committed to global supply chains for vaccines, it is will also ensure Europe gets what it is owed.

Ng acknowledged at a House of Commons committee meeting Monday that promises to Canada from Europe are verbal, not in writing. She said they are still significant.

“Canada will continue to expect that the European Union Commission’s mechanism will not affect Canada’s vaccine shipments,” said Ng.

But if it does, Canada is getting ready.

Steve Verheul, the assistant deputy minister for trade policy and negotiations at Global Affairs Canada, told the House of Commons trade committee that Canada’s first goal is to ensure Europe lives up to its promise.

But if that changes, the department is doing a full analysis of what the options could be to push back.

“We’re waiting to see if the EU process is going to pose any interruptions or not,” said Verheul. “But we’re certainly prepared that if this process does start to create problems, we will have steps we can take in light of that.”

He would not elaborate on what those steps would be, because the federal government is currently being told the export controls will not hurt Canada.

All Canada’s doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are made in and shipped from Europe. Those are currently the only two vaccines Health Canada has approved for use.

READ MORE: Canada to get 20% of promised Pfizer vaccines in next few weeks; feds look at vial size

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirusvaccines

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
43 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

368 cases in the region remain active

Midway’s Boundary Expo Recreation Centre (above) is a mainstay of the local community and the Boundary area more broadly, according to Village officials. Photo: Submitted
West Boundary arena to get equipment overhaul thanks to provincial grant

The funds are being put toward new refrigeration equipment at Midway’s Boundary Expo Rec. Centre

A member of the Avalanche Canada South Rockies field team gathers important snowpack data that is used to produce daily avalanche forecasts for the region. Photo by Jennifer Coulter.
Warming temperatures increase avalanche risk heading into the weekend

Warm temperatures impact conditions, human behaviour

The City of Grand Forks is named as a defendant in a lawsuit by former Grand Forks Fire/Rescue volunteer, Leslie Cleverly. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
City of Grand Forks responds to lawsuit by former city firefighter

The City’s lawyers roundly denied allegations made by the plaintiff, Leslie Cleverly

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports 16 new COVID-19 cases

423 cases remain active in the region

Third-grader Hudson Adrian (left) on Wednesday, Feb. 24, poses with fourth-graders Josh Hlookoff (centre) and Jaylen Dekteroff at Hutton Elementary’s Pink Shirt Day parade. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
WATCH — Grand Forks’ elementaries support Pink Shirt Day

The annual celebration of kindness puts paid to the idea that bullying was ever cool

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon speaks in the B.C. legislature, describing work underway to make a small business and tourism aid package less restrictive, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends deadline for tourism, small business COVID-19 grants

Business owners expect months more of lost revenues

The Black Diamond / PIEPS Avalanche transceivers being recalled. (Image courtesy of PIEPS)
Black Diamond, PIEPS issue recall for avalanche transceivers

PIEPS said that avalanche incidents in 2017 and 2020 had prompted the recall, but defended the product

Anti-pipeline protests continue in Greater Vancouver, with the latest happening Thursday, March 4 at a Trans Mountain construction site in Burnaby. (Facebook/Laurel Dykstra)
A dozen faith-based protestors blockade Burnaby Trans Mountain site in prayer

The group arrived early Thursday, planning to ‘block any further work’

Mid day at the Vancouver Port Intersection blockade on March 3, organized by the Braided Warriors. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
Anti-pipeline blockade at Vancouver intersection broken up by police

Demonstraters were demanding the release of a fellow anti-TMX protester

(Government of B.C.)
CBEEN launches Columbia Basin-based social enterprise Canada’s Non-profit Outdoor Learning Store. Photo courtesy www.outdoorlearningschool.ca
CBEEN’s Outdoor Learning Store expands nationwide

Social enterprise provides educators with access to outdoor learning resources

Backcountry skiers are dwarfed by the mountains as they make their way along a mountain ridge near McGillivray Pass Lodge located in the southern Chilcotin Mountains of British Columbia, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012. Avalanche Canada has issued a special warning to people who use the backcountry in the mountains of western Alberta and eastern British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Avalanche Canada special warning for mountains in western Alberta, eastern B.C.

Avalanche Canada also says everyone in a backcountry party needs essential rescue gear

A recently finished $4.3-million taxiway extension at the Victoria International Airport (not pictured) is unusable because of a blind spot. (Black Press Media file photo)
Blind spot leaves Victoria airport’s new $4.3-million taxiway extension unusable

Solution has been put on hold by COVID-19 pandemic, says airport authority

Most Read