Thursday, August 3, 2017

Cheese import permits split

Half of the highly-valuable cheese import permits that come as part of the free trade deal with Europe will be given to distributors and retailers. The other half will go to Canadian cheese processors who are disappointed because they wanted them all.

They are valuable because permit holders can buy up to 16,000 tonnes of European specialty cheeses and up to 1,700 tonnes of industrial cheeses at low world prices and sell them at much higher prices in Canada.

Who gets to hold the permits has been a hotly-contested lobbying battle, most of it out of public view.

In a package of trade-deal-related announcements, farmers get up to $250,000 each from a $250-million fund to improve their efficiency and productivity and processors get to dip into a fund of $100 million to develop new products, presumably those that have been flooding across the U.S. border and some from Europe and escaping high Canadian tariffs because they’re so new they’re not listed in the schedule of tariff-protected markets.