Canada, NZ claim win on trade panel ruling over dairy market dispute

NZ said Canada is restricting access to domestic dairy market
calendar icon 7 September 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

New Zealand and Canada have both claimed they had won a trade dispute over complaints Ottawa was unfairly restricting access to its domestic market for dairy products, Reuters reported, citing separate statements from the two governments.

New Zealand, as well as the United States, has consistently complained that Canada is not meeting obligations under various trade deals to open its market to foreign producers.

In particular, they say that although Canada agreed to allow some dairy market access to foreign firms through a system of tariff-rate quotas, it was in fact improperly allocating some of them to domestic firms.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a major trade pact, was asked by New Zealand to set up a dispute panel to address its complaint.

Canada on Tuesday said they had won the trade dispute case against New Zealand, while Wellington welcomed the CPTPP panel ruling calling it "a significant win for our primary sector exporters."

New Zealand Trade Minister Damien O'Connor said Canada was not following its commitments under CPTPP by effectively blocking access for New Zealand's dairy industry to increase its exports.

"That will now have to change," O'Connor said in a statement on Wednesday. "We (have) secured new dairy quota access accounting for 3.3% of Canada’s market - tens of thousands of tonnes per year in key dairy products for New Zealand's exporters."

Ottawa said the panel had made "a significant finding" by recognizing Canada's sole discretion to set tariff-rate quota allocations policies.

"Canada is very pleased with the outcome of the panel's report which is a clear victory," Trade Minister Mary Ng said in a statement.

She also reaffirmed Canada's determination to protect the national supply management system that protects dairy farmers with production quotas and high tariffs on imports.

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