Wednesday, 16 November 2022 09:55

NZ/Canada trade dispute heats up

Written by  Staff Reporters
Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor. Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor.

New Zealand's dispute with Canada over dairy tariffs rate quotas (TRQs) has taken a new turn.

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor says NZ has requested the establishment of a panel to hear its dispute against Canada regarding the administration of TRQs under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

He says Canada is not living up to the commitments to allow dairy products into Canada. O'Connor says this is impacting on our exporters, who remain effectively locked out of the Canadian market, and Canadian consumers, who are missing out on the increased consumer choice that CPTPP promises.

NZ initiated the dispute on May 12 this year by requesting formal consultations with Canada to address these concerns. Consultations took place in June, but did not resolve matters and as a result the decision was made to request the establishment of a panel to hear and decide the dispute.

"This is ultimately about ensuring that our exporters can access the benefits that were agreed under CPTPP. These were hard-won negotiated outcomes, and it is important that our exporters have confidence and certainty in their ability to enjoy them," says O'Connor.

He says NZ's primary industries are the backbone of our economy, and NZ will continue to do everything we can to ensure farmers are treated fairly on the world stage.

"Our primary exports were worth $53 billion to the New Zealand economy last year, and we are continuing to see them grow. It is important for the economic security of all New Zealanders that the rules of our trade agreements are being upheld," he says.

Damien O'Connor says our country continues to value its strong friendship with Canada, describing it as 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 says.

New Zealand has previously brought disputes in the World Trade Organisation, but this is the first dispute New Zealand has taken under a free trade agreement, and the first dispute any party has taken under the CPTPP.

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