Trade talks in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pact continue and some producers are becoming restless with the ongoing uncertainty as to what impact the trade bloc would have on Canada’s supply management system.
In a previous post, we discussed the potential implications of the TPP on Canada’s supply management system and some policies other countries have implemented to phase out supply management.
Some reports have surfaced suggesting that Canada’s ongoing insistence on supply management has been a contributing factor to the slow progress of the trade talks. New Zealand and Australia, two countries which phased out supply management in the past, are amongst the most vocal in insisting that Canada’s protected market for dairy products must be opened to greater access.
In the latest round of talks, reports surfaced stating that Canada offered concessions in which Canada would permit a greater amount of tariff-free imports of fluid milk, butter, and cheese. While the U.S. and New Zealand felt that the volume offered was not sufficient, the issue of supply management is now on the table. If these reports are accurate, this would represent a significant concession from Canada which had previously insisted that supply management would be maintained. It is expected that New Zealand, Australia, and the United States will continue to push for a greater volume of tariff-free imports while Canada advocates for a longer-term phase-in period to accommodate producers.
We will continue to monitor the developments to the TPP. However, some observers comment that it is unlikely that an agreement is reached while Canada is in the midst of an election.