International Cheese Council of Canada Welcomes CUSMA Dispute Panel Findings

Confirmation of CUSMA Agreement Provisions to Benefit Canadian Consumers




OTTAWA, ON, January 4, 2022 – Today, the International Cheese Council of Canada (ICCC) welcomes the findings of the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) dispute panel on Canada’s administration of its dairy tariff rate quotas (TRQs), which found elements of Canada’s TRQ administration to be inconsistent with provisions of the agreement and has recommended that Canada amend its TRQ allocation measures to come into compliance with CUSMA. Amended TRQ allocation measures will finally allow Canadian consumers as well as Canadian importers to fully benefit from the market access granted under CUSMA.

“The ICCC commends the panel and looks forward to TRQ policies that will ultimately reduce costs for Canadian consumers, and increase choice on grocery store shelves,” Patrick Pelliccione, the ICCC’s Chairman. “Our Members and Associate Members – small and medium-sized Canadian enterprises – are excited to continue providing Canadians’ favourite cheeses at affordable prices.”

The panel’s findings do not grant additional market access for dairy to the United States – they merely confirm the application of existing provisions of the agreement. Under CUSMA, which came into force on July 1st, 2020, Canada agreed to provide additional market access for supply-managed goods to the United States with the creation of two new cheese TRQs. Yet, Canada’s TRQ administration and allocation practices has limited the realization of this granted market access. For instance, under USMCA an average of 68% of dairy quotas have been filled in its second year of implementation.

“The ICCC looks forward to Canada living up to all the obligations it has committed to in CUSMA,” added Pelliccione. “The association encourages both governments to come together towards a speedy outcome which ensure quota is allocated to those most likely to use it – to everyone’s benefit.”

The International Cheese Council of Canada (ICCC) is committed to working with Canadian and American government officials on amended TRQ allocation measures which will live up to Canada’s treaty obligations and benefit Canadian consumers.


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