A Guide to CanadaÕs Market Access Initiative
for Least Developed Countries
EXPORT TO CANADA
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Programme for building African Capacity for Trade
Programme dÕappui au renforcement des capacits de commerce international au service de lÕAfrique
Funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
A Guide to CanadaÕs Market Access Initiative, July 2003
Improved Access to the Canadian Market
Exporters from Least Developed Countries (LDCs)1 can now sell into the Canadian market without
having to pay duties or comply with quotas for most products. Prior to this Canadian Market Access
Initiative, which came into force January 1, 2003, about half of CanadaÕs imports from LDCs were
subject to tariffs averaging 19%.
The Market Access Initiative, announced by the Government of Canada during the G8 Summit at
Kananaskis in 2002, is one of several major Canadian responses to NEPAD2 aimed at contributing to
economic growth in developing countries. This initiative has the objective of helping to reduce poverty
through increased investment and economic development resulting from the reduction of trade barriers.
LDCs have traditionally benefited from special access to the Canadian market through an LDC tariff
system and the General Preferential Tariff (GPT). For example, nearly all LDC agricultural exports to
Canada enjoyed duty-free access. Nevertheless, prior to the Market Access Initiative, some imports
from LDCs still faced tariffs. The removal of these should encourage LDC exporters to look to Canada
as a potential market for their goods and services.
The Canadian Import Market
Shipments of all products to Canada from LDCs have increased threefold in the past ten years,
averaging more than C$300 million in recent years before reaching C$585 million in 2002. While the
majority of these imports are in commodities such as crude oil, aluminum ore and rubber, consumer
goods are occupying an increasing volume with items such as textiles, apparel, food products,
tableware, kitchenware, headwear,