Today, the federal government announced its plans regarding the allocation of import licences — officially known as tariff rate quota — for almost 18,000,000 (eighteen million) kilograms of European cheeses entering Canada tariff-free. Despite provincial calls for licenses to be allocated only to those negatively impacted, Canadian cheesemakers, the government has largely ignored these requests. Canadian dairy processors are disappointed that the federal government has failed to adequately support its dairy sector.
When it comes to competition from European imports, our dairy sector is at a disadvantage. Unlike the European sector which is heavily subsidized, the Canadian industry is not. Furthermore, the new cheeses coming into the market from Europe will enter Canada tariff-free. While we are still early days, this will result in less production by Canadian cheesemakers. In turn, this will impact Canadian dairy farmers who will not be producing the milk for these domestic cheeses.
“It is clear that only the dairy sector is impacted negatively by this, yet the government has chosen to offer a significant portion of these licenses to retailers. It is incumbent on the government to explain its logic to the 80,000 Canadian families that depend on our sector for their livelihood” said Jacques Lefebvre, President and CEO of the Dairy Processors Association of Canada. “Any import license going to retailers equates to handing over the whole supply chain, from import, through distribution and retailing to the retailers. How is it in the best interest of Canadian consumers?” added Lefebvre.
Dairy producers also expressed their disappointment in the path chosen by the government to allocate the cheese import license “We had hoped the government would prioritize the allocation of the new TRQs to cheesemakers, who would have imported cheeses that are not already produced in Canada, providing greater variety of cheeses to Canadian consumers, while supporting the continued growth of the Canadian dairy sector,” said Pierre Lampron, president of Dairy Farmers of Canada.
About the Dairy Processors Association of Canada
The Dairy Processors Association of Canada (DPAC) is Canada’s national industry association representing the public policy and regulatory interests of the Canadian dairy processing industry. DPAC’s members represent some of the most recognized brands in Canada and provide work to over 23,000 Canadians, contributing $17.3 billion to the national economy.
About Dairy Farmers of Canada
Founded in 1934, Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) is the national organization defending the interests of Canadian dairy farmers and striving to create favourable conditions for the Canadian dairy industry. Working within supply management, DFC promotes safe, high quality, sustainable, and nutritious Canadian dairy products made from 100% Canadian milk through various marketing, nutrition, policy, and lobbying initiatives. Driven by a strong sense of community and pride, DFC and Canadian dairy farmers actively support a number of local and national initiatives. Visit dairyfarmers.ca for more information.