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

Some of the folks behind Angel Flight East Kootenay: Todd Weselake is a director, partner and pilot while Brent Bidston is the president and lead pilot of the not-for-profit. Pictured here with their older plane, they hope to get an upgrade for thanks to RDEK funding. (Image courtesy of Angel Flight East Kootenay)
Angel Flight secures RDEK funding for next five years

$100,000 will go to the not-for-profit each year, with the funds to be used to acquire a larger plane

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

Ryan Bavin of Bavin Glassworks in Invermere. Photo: Submitted
Call for entries for Columbia Basin Culture Tour

Deadline for registration for artists and venues is April 15

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
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Most Read