Import Limits Announced for Dairy Products

CANADA - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has published import limits for poultry and dairy products under the Special Safeguard Measure of the World Trade Organization. Agriculture minister Gerry Ritz committed the government to implementing the special safeguard measures in February, as part of its commitment to protecting supply management.
calendar icon 14 August 2008
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Wisconsin Ag Connection reports that now, staff at Agriculture Canada has completed the calculations and posted notice regarding both the price of imports and the volume of imports which would trigger and an increase in tariffs to protect domestic product.

The special safeguard provided in Article five of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture is intended to respond to sudden import surges or significant cuts in import prices for products subject to tariffs. It allows for increasing the existing tariffs on over-quota imports by up to one-third of the existing tariff. Calculations for duties on under-priced imports are more complicated.

The increased tariffs must be temporary and apply only to over-quota imports. However, countries can implement the special safeguard measures without demonstrating there is injury or the threat of injury to the domestic product, and there is no need to negotiate compensation with the exporting country.

Agriculture Canada will monitor imports. Then if they trigger action, the Minister of Agriculture must send a report to the Minister of Finance, who must sign off on the order for a surtax.

There are both price and volume triggers. The price trigger prescribed by the WTO is 90 per cent below the average import price recorded by Statistics Canada during the three-year period from 1986 to 1988.

Alternatively, if import volumes exceed the most recent year three-year average by 125 per cent, the special safeguard tariff can be invoked. When volume triggers a tariff, it can only be applied for the remainder of the calendar year; then, the trigger level must be recalculated.

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