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Trade News

Each day TFO Canada publishes a sample of trade news on the Canadian import market along with any new, updated or changed regulations and legislations regarding international trade; countries in which TFO Canada offers services and on the export sectors which it promotes.


Business Stakeholders Meet to Slash Costly Cross-Border Red Tape

Thursday, October 09, 2014 > 13:14:16

(Sun News – Jessica Murphy)

It all comes down to being able to buy a cheaper, better lipstick.

Canadian and U.S. industry stakeholders and regulators met in Washington on Wednesday to try to begin aligning regulations between the two countries on pretty much all goods that cross the border, including, yes, lipstick.

The goal? Slash costs and cross-border hassles for consumers and businesses.

Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association president Darren Praznik has a pet example to illustrate the problem – lipstick with sunscreen. The product is classified as a drug in Canada but as a simple lipstick in the U.S., a difference in designation that creates many inspection and regulatory obstacles.

Praznik estimates the added annual regulatory cost to import that lipstick to Canada jumps from $1,000 for a regular lipstick to $170,000 for one with sunscreen.

"At the end of the day, for a Canadian consumer, you're really paying for this inappropriate and unnecessary set application of drug rules, you're getting no additional safety benefit, you're getting less choice in the marketplace, and you're discouraging new and small innovative companies," he said.

Robert Carberry is the Canadian bureaucrat helping push the initiative – called the Regulatory Co-operation Council – forward. He said Wednesday's meeting, attended by over 400 stakeholders and regulators from both countries, was about getting regulators like the Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada, and the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration and Transport Canada, to commit to sitting down annually to find ways to streamline regulations – something that wasn't happening before.

"We've frankly been blown away by the interest in this," he said. But Carberry said the effort is in its early days and some issues could take years to resolve.

The are "a lot of bridges to build," especially when it comes to aligning more complex systems like food imports, all while maintaining safety and environmental standards, he said. It's expected to take less time to harmonize regulations for products such as car seats, for example.

Carberry says it's worth the effort because it could save industry "tens and tens and tens of millions" of dollars.

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