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 graphic design of the new RCMP detachment which will be located on a five-acre property bordering Ford Road and Drinkwater Road. (File graphic)
Heavy trucks not allowed shortcut during construction of RCMP detachment

North Cowichan won’t allow heavy trucks on Drinkwater Road where not designated

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Laketown Ranch to welcome campers this summer

Sunfest site will provide camping amenities between May and September

‘I chose my children’s breakfasts purely based on what dishes would fit best into the dishwasher.’ (Bobbi Venier photo)
Sarah Simpson Column: Delayed gratification and the benefits of efficiency

I was driving with just my daughter the other day and we… Continue reading

Wayne Allen's graduation photo from Chemainus Secondary School. (Photo submitted)
Brother charged with murder in Chemainus teenager’s Ontario death

Jesse James Allen stands accused in the death of Wayne Allen, a 2020 Chemainus Secondary grad

The frequent disruptions to water service in Chemainus are expected to be a lot less after North Cowichan replaces the Smiley Road water main. (File photo)
Smiley Road water main in Chemainus to be replaced

$890,000 project expected to be completed this spring

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

A crossover utility vehicle smashed through the front of a business on Bowen Road on Friday evening. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Vehicle smashes all the way inside business in Nanaimo

No serious injuries reported after incident at Venue Financial Centres on Friday

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

Most Read