Annual report March 31, 2020 - Chapter 1

Chapter 1 - Summary

The Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) is recognized, both here at home and on the international stage, as a centre of excellence in the fair and timely resolution of trade law matters. The Tribunal is a quasi judicial body that provides Canadian and international businesses with access to fair, transparent and timely trade remedy inquiries, federal government procurement inquiries, and customs and excise tax appeals. At the request of the Government, the Tribunal provides advice in economic and tariff matters.

History of the Tribunal

The Tribunal began operations on December 31, 1988, following the merger of the Tariff Board, the Canadian Import Tribunal and the Textile and Clothing Board. However, its history goes back to the time of Confederation and the Board of Customs, whose appellate mandate was transferred to the Tariff Board in the 1930s. In 1994, the Tribunal absorbed the Procurement Review Board. In 2014, the staff and budget of the Tribunal were transferred to the Administrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada (ATSSC). Its staff is now part of the CITT Secretariat of the ATSSC.

1931 The Tariff Board was established to inquire into economic matters referred to it by the Minister of Finance. The powers of the Board of Customs are also transferred to the Tariff Board.
1969 The Canadian Import Tribunal was originally established as the Anti-dumping Tribunal. Its name change reflected a broader mandate to conduct injury inquiries in both anti-dumping and countervailing duty proceedings under the Special Import Measures Act (SIMA), as well as in safeguard cases.
1970s The Tribunal’s third predecessor, the Textile and Clothing Board, was formed in the early 1970s and inquired into safeguard complaints by the Canadian textile and apparel industries.
1994 The Tribunal absorbed the Procurement Review Board, extending the Tribunal’s mandate to include inquiries into whether federal procurement processes have been carried out in accordance with Canada’s domestic and international trade obligations.

Trade Remedy Inquiries

The Tribunal plays a significant role within Canada’s trade remedy system. Under SIMA, the Tribunal determines whether the dumping and subsidizing of imported goods cause injury or threaten to cause injury to a domestic industry. The Tribunal issued 17 trade remedies decisions and two safeguard exclusion decisions during the fiscal year—compared to 27 the year before. These decisions related primarily to the steel sector, but also concerned products such as unitized wall modules, silicon metal, aluminum extrusions, and nitisinone capsules. All the decisions were issued within the tight statutory deadlines. The report of the safeguard inquiry held during the fiscal year 2018-2019 was released on April 3, 2019.

Dumping occurs when a foreign producer exports at a price that is lower than their normal value (generally, either the domestic selling price of comparable goods in the country of export, or the constructed cost of production of the goods exported to Canada).

Subsidizing occurs when goods imported into Canada benefit from foreign government financial assistance.

Procurement Inquiries

During fiscal year 2019-2020, the Tribunal received 72 complaints pertaining to more than $550 million in federal procurement. The Tribunal issued 62 decisions on whether to accept complaints for injury. The Tribunal also issued 27 final decisions on merit where complaints were accepted for inquiry. Combined, this represented a total of 89 decisions compared to 92 the year before. All procurement review decisions were issued within legislated deadlines.

Customs and Excise Appeals

A total of 57 appeals were filed (47 under the Customs Act and 10 under SIMA) during the reporting period, and two extension of time requests were received. The Tribunal issued 40 appeal decisions and one remand decision under the Customs Act. Of these 41 appeal decisions, 39 (95 percent) were made within 120 days of being heard by the Tribunal.

Standing Textiles Reference

Pursuant to a reference from the Minister of Finance dated July 14, 1994, as last amended on October 27, 2005, the Tribunal was directed to investigate requests from domestic producers for tariff relief on imported textile inputs for use in their manufacturing operations and, in respect of those requests, to make recommendations to the Minister of Finance that would maximize net economic gains to Canada.

No requests for tariff relief have been received by the Tribunal for the past several years. The reference was terminated by the Minister of Finance on February 1, 2020.

Caseload

The first table below contains statistics pertaining to the Tribunal’s caseload for 2019-2020. The second table contains statistics relating to other case-related activities in 2019-2020. These statistics illustrate the complexity and diversity of the cases considered by the Tribunal.

Tribunal Caseload Overview — 2019-2020

  Cases Brought Forward From Previous Fiscal Year Cases Received in Fiscal Year Total Decisions to Initiate Decisions Not to Initiate Total Decisions/ Reports Issued Cases Withdrawn/ Closed Cases Outstanding (March 31, 2020)
Trade remedies
Preliminary injury inquiries 0 2 2 N/A N/A 2 0 0
Inquiries 1 2 3 N/A N/A 1 0 2
Requests for public interest inquiries 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Public interest inquiries 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Requests for interim reviews 1 2 3 0 2 0 0 1
Interim reviews 0 0 0 N/A N/A 0 0 0
Expiries1 1 5 6 6 0 6 0 0
Expiry reviews 7 6 13 N/A N/A 8 0 5
Safeguards 1 2 3 N/A N/A 3   0
Remanded cases 0 1 1 N/A N/A 0 0 1
Total 11 20 31 6 2 20 0 9
Procurement
Complaints received 3 72 75 26 36 62 6 7
Complaints accepted for inquiry 5 26 31 N/A N/A 27 0 4
Remanded cases2 0 0 0 N/A N/A 0 N/A 0
Total 8 98 106 26 36 89 6 11
Appeals
Extensions of time
Customs Act 1 2 3 N/A N/A 3 0 0
Excise Tax Act 0 0 0 N/A N/A 0 0 0
Total 1 2 3 N/A N/A 3 0 0
Appeals
Customs Act 85 47 132 N/A N/A 40 34 58
Excise Tax Act 0 0 0 N/A N/A 0 0 0
Special Import Measures Act 0 10 10 N/A N/A 0 0 10
Remanded cases 1 0 1 N/A N/A 1 0 0
Total 86 57 143 N/A N/A 41 34 68

1. With respect to expiries, “decisions to initiate” refer to decisions to initiate expiry reviews.

2. Where a single remand decision is issued in respect of multiple cases, it is accounted for as a single remanded case.

N/A = Not applicable

Statistics Relating to Case Activities in 2019-2020

  Trade Remedy Activities Procurement Review Activities Appeals Standing Textile Reference Total
Orders
Disclosure orders 27 0 0 0 27
Cost award orders N/A 5 N/A N/A 5
Compensation orders N/A 4 N/A N/A 4
Production orders 6 1 1 0 8
Postponement of award orders N/A 3 N/A N/A 3
Rescission of postponement of award orders N/A 3 N/A N/A 3
Directions/administrative rulings
Requests for information 166 0 0 0 166
Motions 2 5 0 0 7
Subpoenas 12 0 1 0 13
Other statistics
Public hearing days 30 0 32 0 62
File hearings1 16 67 16 0 99
Witnesses 109 0 58 0 167
Participants 277 107 160 0 544
Questionnaire replies 608 0 0 0 608
Pages of official records2 201,550 55,693 57,710 0 314,953

1. A file hearing occurs where the Tribunal renders a decision on the basis of written submissions, without holding a public hearing.

2. Estimated.

N/A = Not applicable