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

PIctured here is a stunning sunset near the village of Halkirk on April 14th. Kevin J. Sabo photo
Village of Halkirk receives new RCMP Sergeant as delegation

Some unknown culprits have made off with a Village of Halkirk stop sign, council heard during its last meeting

Dr. Wayne John Edwards, 66, died Tuesday at Chinook Regional Hospital. (Cornerstone Funeral Home)
Lethbridge doctor becomes 7th Alberta health-care worker to die from COVID-19

Dr. Wayne John Edwards, who was 66, died Tuesday at the Chinook Regional Hospital in the southern Alberta city

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole to vote against Conservative MP’s private bill on ‘sex-selective abortion’

Erin O’Toole said he supports a woman’s right to choose and will personally vote against the private member’s bill

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Doses of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine in a freezer trailer, to be transported to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pfizer to increase vaccine deliveries in Canada as Moderna supply slashed

Moderna plans to ship 650,000 doses of its vaccine to Canada by the end of the month, instead of the expected 1.2 million

A empty classroom is pictured at Eric Hamber Secondary school in Vancouver, B.C. Monday, March 23, 2020. The Alberta government says schools in Calgary will move to at-home learning starting Monday for students in grades 7 to 12.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Calgary schools to shift to at-home learning for grades 7 to 12 due to COVID-19

The change, due to COVID-19, is to last for two weeks

A man wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as he walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
COVID-19 spike in B.C. could overwhelm B.C. hospitals: modelling group

There are 397 people are in hospital due to the virus, surpassing a previous high of 374 seen in December

Ron Rauch and his wife Audrey are photographed at their home in Victoria, Friday, March 5, 2021. Their daughter Lisa Rauch died on Christmas Day 2019 when a tactical officer with the Victoria Police Department shot her in the back of the head with plastic bullets after barricading herself in a room that was on fire. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. families push for changes as special committee examines provincial Police Act

Solicitor General Mike Farnworth acknowledged the need to update the legislation last year

Major-General Dany Fortin, left, looks on as Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. The Public Health Agency of Canada has set aside up to $5 billion to pay for COVID-19 vaccines. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada negotiating contracts to secure COVID-19 booster shots for next year: Anand

Most of Canada’s current vaccine suppliers are already testing new versions against variants

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Health Canada headquarters in Ottawa. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)
Health Canada releases guidelines for reducing COVID-19 transmission at home

Improve indoor air quality by opening up your windows and doors, among other encouraged ventilation measures

Most Read