New Zealand progresses CPTPP dairy dispute with Canada

In advocacy of its dairy industry, New Zealand has today requested the establishment of a panel to hear its dispute against Canada regarding the administration of dairy tariff rate quotas (TRQs) under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

“New Zealand’s primary industries are the backbone of our economy, and we will continue to do everything we can to ensure farmers are treated fairly on the world stage,” Damien O’Connor said. 

“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.

“Canada is not living up to the commitments it made under CPTPP to allow dairy products into Canada.  This is impacting New Zealand 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,” Damien O’Connor said.

New Zealand initiated the dispute on 12 May this year by requesting formal consultations with Canada to address these concerns.  Consultations took place in June, but did not resolve matters. New Zealand has therefore made the decision 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,” Damien O’Connor said. 

“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.”

New Zealand submitted its request for the establishment of a panel today.  Canada and New Zealand will now engage in a process to compose the panel by selecting the three individuals to sit as panellists.  Other CPTPP parties also have 10 days to join the dispute as third parties if they have a substantial interest in the dispute. 

New Zealand has previously brought disputes in the World Trade Organization, 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.

“The Government has been focussed on opening new opportunity for our exporters by delivering four new free trade agreements with the United Kingdom and European Union, and through CPTPP and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP),” Damien O’Connor said.

“We will work on their behalf to ensure the potential of these agreements is realised.”

Updated information on this dispute will be published on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.