NZ Urges Canada To Get Rid Of Dairy Quotas

NEW ZEALAND & CANADA - Commenting at the opening of a dairy factory, New Zealand's trade minister Tim Groser said Canada should eliminate tariffs by ditching dairy quotas if it wants to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
calendar icon 28 November 2011
clock icon 2 minute read
Mr Groser stated: "Dairy will be very challenging for Canada. This is a statement of fact. Canada follows a policy that many Governments used to follow but most have moved forward. It is called ‘supply management’. It is completely inconsistent with tariff elimination."

He continued: "However, supply management is not inconsistent with more traditional trade negotiations of the past. Canada is fundamentally a free trading nation with very strong interests in agriculture liberalisation. But Canada has always sought special treatment for its supply managed industries. If I were a Canadian politician or trade negotiator, I would have done exactly the same."

"It has not been easy in past negotiations. The United States and New Zealand had to pursue Canada in the courts for ten years after the conclusion of the Uruguay Round before Canada brought its policies into conformity with its international legal obligations arising from the export subsidy disciplines. With respect to market access, Canada’s highly skilled senior trade negotiators – I have worked with almost all of them – have negotiated concessions that have preserved the system of supply management, albeit a system operating at a lower level of output relative to domestic consumption than might otherwise have been the case."

"The question here can be stated very simply: is TPP a point of inflexion in trade negotiations, or is it business as usual?"

"Well, in terms of the negotiating history of TPP and the antecedent agreements that led to the launch of TPP, it was designed explicitly not to be ‘business as usual’. We wanted to create a template for Asia Pacific trade and investment integration that set new and higher standards. More to the point, our Leaders statement and the Trade Ministers Report they endorsed in Honolulu says – no, this is not business as usual."

"But the cynics, whether they are in Tokyo, Ottawa or Mexico City, have history on their side. So in the months ahead, as the negotiations amongst the nine TPP economies, we need to provide an answer. Can we walk the walk as well as talk the talk? We will find out. The reformers watching this from other capitals are not going to win a domestic political argument on the basis of our communiqué alone. In this tough world, a higher standard of proof is required. New Zealand negotiators, and we will be far from alone, will be working hard to provide that evidence, one way or other in months ahead."
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