International Cheese Council of Canada                                                                

Canadian Cheese Importers Deeply Disappointed with Canada’s Newly Published CUSMA Dairy TRQ Policies


OTTAWA, ON, May 17, 2022 – The International Cheese Council of Canada (ICCC) is deeply disappointed with Canada’s newly published dairy tariff rate quota policies, announced in response to a precedent-setting dispute under the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). Despite the United States’ win in the first-ever CUSMA dispute settlement panel on January 4, 2022 – in which the panelists found elements of Canada’s TRQ administration to be inconsistent with provisions of the agreement – Canada has decided to move forward once again with TRQ policies which do not meaningfully meet the spirit and letter of CUSMA.

“The ICCC objects to Canada’s new allocation and administration for the CUSMA dairy TRQs,” said Patrick Pelliccione, the ICCC’s Chairman. “By continuing to refuse to respect its trade obligations (under CUSMA and other agreements), Canada is not only affecting our country’s international reputation as a reliable trade partner, but it is also negatively impacting Canadian consumers and many small- and medium-sized Canadian enterprises – such as ICCC Members.”

Under CUSMA, which came into force on July 1, 2020, Canada agreed to provide additional market access to the United States for supply-managed goods through the creation of two new cheese TRQs. Since then, however, Canada’s TRQ administration and allocation practices have effectively limited the realization of this granted market access, leading to this trade dispute.

““The Government of Canada’s single-minded focus on protecting its financially robust domestic dairy industry, at the expense of the small- and medium-sized businesses importing foreign cheeses, is inconsistent with its rhetoric about supporting small businesses – it’s like they’ve forgotten we are Canadians. We call on the Canadian government to come back to the table and modify these new policies, for the benefit of Canada’s cheese import businesses and to restore our country’s reputation as a trusted trading partner,” added Pelliccione.

As Canadian enterprises hurt by Canada’s proposed approach, the International Cheese Council of Canada (ICCC) welcomes the U.S. government’s effort to ensure that Canada fulfills its treaty obligations.  The ICCC will also continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure that Canadians are able to enjoy the benefits of Canada’s international trade agreements.


The International Cheese Council of Canada:

 Based in Ottawa (Canada), the ICCC is an association of small- and medium-sized cheese importers and their suppliers. Founded in 1976, we are the only association in Canada exclusively dedicated to the importation of cheese into Canada. Our members are Canadian importers of cheese; our associate members are cheese producers and processors from various countries that have signed international trade treaties with Canada. The ICCC works to ensure that Canada’s cheese TRQs are put in the hands of those most likely to use it. Such an outcome increases quota fill rates – to everyone’s benefit. The ICCC has co-existed with Canada’s supply-managed dairy sector for over 45 years and recognizes the rationale underlying the supply management system – we are not advocating for the dismantling of the supply management.


Media Contact: 

Marie Lemieux

Senior Advisor, International Cheese Council of Canada