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Canadian dairy processors disappointed with federal government

Staff Writer | August 3, 2017
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.
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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.