Thursday, May 9, 2013

Tribunal rules against dairy farmers

The International Trade Tribunal has turned aside an appeal by Dairy Farmers of Canada, so imports of pizza kits can continue without facing a dairy-products tariff of 245.5 per cent.

The tribunal ruled that only companies in competition with the importers have standing to appeal.

The provincial milk marketing boards formed BalanceCo, a non-profit organization, to file the appeal against J. Cheese Inc. which is importing the kits which contain shredded mozzarella cheese.

The tribunal noted that BalanceCo did not exist at the time the Canadian Border Services made the decision that the kits are not covered by the tariff.

J. Cheese Inc. supplies Pizza Pizza which has 960 outlets across Canada.

The pizza restaurants have long complained that the milk supply management system gives a price break to frozen-pizza makers, such as McCain’s, but not to pizza restaurants and home delivery services, so it’s unfair competition.

The Dairy Farmers of Ontario milk marketing board is now considering a proposal to extend the price break on milk to make mazzarella cheese to the restaurant trade.

The pizza kits ruling is similar to a loophole ice cream manufacturers identified so they can import a blend of vegetable oils and butterfat without paying the high tariff.