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Dairy Facts 2016

Canada Allocates Increased Access for EU Cheese Under CETA

Aug 10, 2017

The Canadian government last week announced allocations of tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) for cheese imports from the European Union under the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). The agreement, which goes into effect September 21, further restricts the limited access that U.S. cheese exporters have to the Canadian market.

CETA will allow a total of 17,700 metric tons of cheese to enter Canada from EU member countries. This number includes 800 metric tons Canada reallocated from its World Trade Organization TRQ for cheese.

The Canadian government announced it will gradually increase TRQ levels to meet this total over a period of five years. To start, it set a tariff-rate quota for the remainder of 2017 of more than 824 metric tons for both cheeses sold for retail and for further food manufacturing and sets the tariff-rate quota at 5,900 metric tons for 2018.

The announcement also clarified the percentage of the TRQ allotted for two groups: one for cheese manufacturers and one for distributors and retailers. Each group will receive 50 percent of the TRQ for cheese each year, with 30 percent reserved for small- and medium-sized importers and 20 percent allocated to large importers.

IDFA has been critical of CETA since the details of the agreement were released more than two years ago. The association has repeatedly asked the U.S. government to seek greater access for American dairy companies to the Canadian market, most recently in comments to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and during an in-person meeting regarding the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Read “Canada Announces CETA Cheese TRQ Administration Policy” for more details.

Impact of CETA

Canada and the EU began the process of implementing CETA last month, agreeing to set the pact into effect September 21 without waiting for the long process of ratification from the parliaments of each European member state.

The trade pact will eliminate roughly 98 percent of tariffs between the two markets. It also restricts the use of five generic cheese names for sole use on products from the EU: asiago, feta, fontina, gorgonzola and muenster. The Canadian government plans to counteract the effects of the agreement on its domestic dairy industry with investment programs worth C$350 million for dairy producers and processors.

With the first NAFTA renegotiation talks beginning next week in Washington, D.C., IDFA will continue to urge U.S. negotiators to push for greater dairy market access to Canada.

For more information, contact Beth Hughes, IDFA director of international affairs, at

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