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EDA expresses CETA cheese concerns

Will European cheese exports be able to compete with domestic Canadian cheese under the CETA agreement? (iStock/ecobo)

Dairy Reporter | 20-Jul-2017

EDA expresses CETA cheese concerns

By Jim Cornall

With implementation of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) looming, the European Dairy Association (EDA) said it still has concerns over the management of the cheese Tariff-Rate Quotas (TRQ).

The deal, which provisionally comes into effect September 21, would limit access of EU cheeses to the Canadian market, the EDA said.

The organization said several reports have stated Canadian authorities would give 60% of the cheese TRQ agreed under CETA to the Canadian cheese manufacturers.

This would threaten the access of EU cheeses to the Canadian market, the EDA argued.

Against CETA principles

Alexander Anton, EDA secretary general, said the CETA Declaration on TRQ administration states that: ‘the general principle is that tariff rate quota administration should be as conducive to trade as possible. More specifically, it must not impair or nullify the market access commitments negotiated by the Parties; it must be transparent, predictable, minimise transactional costs for traders, maximise fill rates and aim to avoid potential speculation.’

Anton said the allocation of the TRQ to the Canadian cheese manufacturers would not be in accordance with these principles.

Anton said the EDA was aware there has been a lot of internal pressure in Canada from cheese manufacturers to administer the cheese quota.

“However, we do not find it acceptable that the quota would be used as compensation to the Canadian dairy sector for the market opening agreed under the CETA,” Anton said.

Better system

The EDA said a better system would be a combination of allocation to historical importers, while offering also opportunities for new importers, based on strict eligibility criteria combined with a fair and accurate activity test and on a request of import license for the TRQ.

Anton said there have been more technical barriers raised, such as the implementation of the Class 7 pricing system, “which changes the spirit we thought we were engaging in with the CETA.”

EDA has called on the European Commission to oppose the allocation of 60% of the cheese TRQ to Canadian cheese manufacturers, and ask the Canadian authorities to offer a fairer system for TRQ management.

 source: Dairy Reporter