Dairy tariffs on agenda as Harper heads to New Zealand - Macleans.ca

Dairy tariffs on agenda as Harper heads to New Zealand

Supply management system a sore point in ongoing negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership


AUCKLAND, New Zealand – Stephen Harper arrives in New Zealand today for an official visit with the country’s prime minister that will include discussions on a touchy subject between the otherwise friendly leaders — Canada’s heavily protected dairy sector.

Canada’s so-called supply management system is a sore point in ongoing negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive Asia-Pacific free-trade proposal between 12 countries with a combined population of almost 800 million.

The U.S. is pressuring Canada to cut tariffs on foreign dairy products as a TPP deal inches closer. Canada’s dairy tariffs are among the highest of any TPP members.

New Zealand, the world’s top dairy exporter, is also urging Canada to cut the tariffs as it seeks out new markets.

The Pacific Rim nation even objected three years ago to Canada’s participation in the TPP talks unless it shuttered its supply management system.

“We have such a great relationship, and we work so closely together on almost any issue under the sun,” Simon Tucker, New Zealand’s high commissioner to Canada, said in a recent interview.

“In terms of issues where we have disagreements, it’s just about the only one, so it has quite a profile … it really is quite an obvious anomaly in our relationship.”

Foreign dairy producers are slapped with tariffs that range between 200 and 300 per cent when they try to sell in Canada. Those tariffs not only make foreign cheese, butter and other dairy products prohibitively expensive for Canadian consumers, they also keep domestic prices for dairy products among the highest in the world.

Prime Minister Harper has said, nonetheless, that Canada is standing by its dairy producers in trade talks even though it recently committed to increased imports of European cheese in the trade deal with the European Union known as CETA.

“I’ve been out talking to a lot of dairy farmers and you do find a lot of them privately will talk about how change is necessary and inevitable,” Tucker said.

Global demand is growing dramatically for dairy; Canada could benefit enormously if it levelled the playing field and stopped resisting change, he added.

“There’s no reason given why Canada couldn’t reorientate its dairy industry … the danger is if you hang on and hang on and hang on and you get dramatic change foisted upon you, you may not be in a position to create what you want.”

Harper meets with Prime Minister John Key on Friday.

Aside from trade, the two leaders are also expected to discuss Islamic militants in the Middle East, Russian aggression in eastern Europe, regional security and how New Zealand has forged a free-trade agreement with China.

Harper just wrapped up his third visit to China, where the two countries signed commercial and currency deals worth as much as $2.5 billion. But his government has lingering misgivings about building closer ties to China.

Both leaders will then travel to Australia to attend a G20 summit in Brisbane on Saturday.


Dairy tariffs on agenda as Harper heads to New Zealand

  1. Protected? Its lobby bought racketeering. You buy a Kraft Mozzarella cheese brick, it could have 283% tax tariff slapped on it. But if you buy from a “family” of billionaires at nearly 3 times the US price, you make them rich and they pay Ottawa taxes and lobby groups.

    Its like a billionaire and Ottawa tax on FOOD!!!! So greedy, have to tax the poor and low income for eating cheese.

    Call it what it is, lobby bought protectionism. Isn’t just dairy, red meat is also tariffed/taxed/feed to get USDA inspected beef and remember, USDA disclosed e.coli, not CBSA….. Funny too, USDA employees make about 1/2 the wages and do a better job inspecting.

    Hey, retail prices of flour plummeted even though CAD money lost value, as we ditched the non-value added Canadian Wheat Board. New Zealand ditched their dairy racketeering and now their product quality and costs are such they are a world exporter of dairy products.

    Canadian beef too, as our quality/cost is so bad, we have dipped below 10% of it export and its falling like a rock. In fact, Canadian beef is exported at a lower cost as they price domestic high to cover lower prices to export. Up to 234% tariffs to make sure poor, low income get to pay a royalty to lobby group backers or Ottawa in tax tariff protectionism.

    Maybe time media stopped sheltering this corruption, statism tax, tariff and racketeering greed. Reason Canada’s trade agreements are complex, is to make sure we Canadian hidden tax slaves pay the lobbyists and hidden taxes. Pretty bad we are brainwashed with CBC Marketplace doing 43 minutes on high Canadian prices yet not once mentioning $45 billion in hidden CBSA taxes, tariffs, fees no American pays. We even pay more than this in protectionism.

    Want more families and less poverty, stop TAXING FOOD for statism and lobby backers greeds.

      milk prices…New Zealand..$5.29/4 liters (no subsidies) Canada..$4.66/4 liters (no subsidies) 2010
      Canadian government spend $0 on subsidies unlike Europe and USA up to $120 billion in 2010
      StatsCan reports dairy imports rising 7.4% totaling 184.9 million kilograms
      Mundi Index reports that NZ imports of 2 million kilograms have NOT risen since 2006, they use their BioSecurity Act 1993 to keep imports OUT.
      Production kg/cow/year…NZ…3530 Canada…7595