What We Do

What We do

ICCC members play a critical role in implementing international trade liberalization agreements as a result of our unique set of skills, experience, expertise, and domestic and international relationships, which include:

– Locating and sourcing specialty cheese  from global suppliers;
– Managing maritime and air importation logistics  for sensitive products that require refrigeration;
– Safely distributing perishable products across  Canada’s vast geography via national, regional,  and local distribution networks;
– Developing consumer demand for new cheeses; and
– Marketing and promoting specialty cheeses imported from around the world.

Our ability to develop the specialty cheese market in Canada has long been recognized.

For example, in the last major study of Canada’s import quotas, the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) recognized the important role played by ICCC members, which “spurred the development of a Canadian specialty cheese industry now capable of producing Brie, Camembert, Havarti and a number of other varieties.” [1]

[1] Canadian International Trade Tribunal Inquiry into the Allocation of Import Quotas, October 1992. Governor in Council Reference GC-91-001 See http://www.citt.gc.ca/en/refer/reports/archive_gc91001_e

Why We Support the Government of Canada’s Progressive Trade Agenda and Oppose Restrictions on Canadian Cheese Imports

For the past 40 years, the Government of Canada has effectively frozen the amount of cheese that ICCC members can import at 20,411,866 kilograms (kgs) through various import controls, including the current World Trade Organization (WTO) Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ) scheme.

Imports over the 20,411,866 kgs WTO TRQ are effectively blocked by Ottawa’s 250% customs tariffs on cheese imports.

Although this TRQ has remained static at 20,411,866 kgs, over the past four decades Canada’s population grew by more than 50%, and is currently over 36,000,000 persons.

Consequently, in 2017 the average amount of international cheese available to each Canadian is less than one kilogram. During this four-decade import freeze, the only way to grow our import businesses was to purchase or rent WTO TRQ from other TRQ holders.

Likewise, given the zero-sum game created by Ottawa’s 40-year import freeze, the only way to import a new cheese variety, or import cheese from a new country, was to shift imports from existing varieties or countries.

The frozen WTO TRQ acquired value as demand for international cheeses exceeded supply due to Ottawa’s 250% border taxes on cheese, Canadian population growth, and ICCC members marketing and growing Canadian consumer demand for specialty cheeses.

After 40 years of cheese imports frozen at the same level, the CETA will increase the TRQ for non-industrial cheese by 16,000,000 kgs – from 20,411,866 kgs to 36,411,866 kgs, when the CETA TRQ is fully implemented in 2022.

In addition to the CETA, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will also significantly increase Canada’s cheese TRQ from major dairy exporters like Australia and New Zealand.

Likewise, in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations, Washington wants to increase Canada’s American cheese imports.

As importers, we support the Government of Canada’s progressive trade agenda, and the orderly elimination of Canada’s current 250% customs tariffs on cheese imports.

In a major speech in the House of Commons on June 6, 2017, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs explained why high tariffs are bad:

Rising trade barriers hurt the people they are intended to help. They curb growth, stifle innovation, and kill employment.

We do not believe that Ottawa’s current 250% border taxes on cheese imports are in the national interest. Restricting competition and increasing prices for popular grocery items are not in the interests of Canada’s middle class, and those working hard to join it.

ICCC members want to import more cheese, and provide more choice and competitive prices for Canadian consumers. In addition, our unique set of skills are required to successfully implement the CETA and make it work for Canadians, including our beef, pork and other agri-food exporters.

Council Directors

Alexander Alexakis
Krinos Foods Canada

Christoph Preusser
Norseland Inc.

Myles Dew
Ronald A. Chisholm Limited