Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she raised concerns Canada was breaking its promises on dairy imports under a trans-Pacific free trade agreement directly with her counterpart Justin Trudeau before escalating the issue.
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'Locked out of the Canadian 1
Trade Minister Damien O’Connor says he will fight to ensure New Zealand exporters are treated fairly on the world stage. (File photo)

 

 

The Government on Monday said it had asked a panel to look at whether Canada was living up to its commitments in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) over how it was setting dairy tariff rate quotas.The quota sets out how much of a product can be imported with lower taxes, or at a lower tax rate.

Ardern said she spoke face-to-face with Trudeau on the issue, but it still could not be resolved. Lost dairy market access was estimated to have cost $68 million over the first two years of a trade partnership.

“We’ve got a reasonable relationship, so there was no issue with that, but you’ll see that we initiated the dispute on 12 May this year.”

'Locked out of the Canadian 1
Trade Minister Damien O’Connor says he will fight to ensure New Zealand exporters are treated fairly on the world stage. (File photo)

Trade Minister Damien O’Connor said the Government was doing everything it could to ensure farmers were treated fairly on the world stage.

“It is important for the economic security of all New Zealanders that the rules of our trade agreements are being upheld,” he said. “These were hard-won negotiated outcomes, and it is important that our exporters have confidence and certainty in their ability to enjoy them.”

New Zealand’s primary exports were worth $53 billion to the New Zealand economy last year and were continuing to grow.

'Locked out of the Canadian 2
New Zealand’s dairy has not had the access it is promised to the Canadian market. (File photo)

Canada and New Zealand will now engage in a process to compose the panel by selecting the three individuals to sit as panellists. Other parties in the fair trade agreement also have 10 days to join the dispute as third parties if they have a substantial interest in the dispute.

“New Zealand continues to value its strong friendship with Canada, one of our warmest and closest relationships in the world. This is a discrete trade issue, and the dispute settlement mechanisms in CPTPP provide us with a neutral forum to resolve it,” he said.

The Government has set up four new free trade agreements with the United Kingdom and European Union, and through CPTPP and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, he said.

Bega’s Better Farms Program supports eligible dairy farmers’ by offering up to $1.1 million worth of financial grants each year.

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