Organisations welcome government's decision to take legal action … – RNZ

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A dairy farmer generic

Photo: 123RF

The Dairy Companies Association has welcomed moves by the government to take further legal steps against Canada for not meeting its obligations under the CPTPP.

Under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership dairy companies here have a quota of product they can send to Canada with fewer tariffs.

But the New Zealand Government says Canada’s not letting that happen and in May initiated formal discussions with the country which were not successful.

The government has now requested the establishment of a panel to hear the dispute.

Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand executive director Kimberly Crewther said it was great the government is holding Canada to account.

“Canada is very protected dairy market, they have tariffs of up to 300 per cent and so our access into that market under the CPTPP agreement is restricted to a limited quota with reduced tariffs.

“But Canada is administering those in such a way as to constrain the usability of those quotas things like restricting the eligibility for the import licenses for quotas and that’s resulting in significant under utilisation of those quotas last year it was only nine per cent.”

Crewther said she was not surprised talks with Canada in May were not successful.

“Experience has shown that where its dairy import policies are concerned, Canada needs to be compelled to make changes that bring it in line with its international commitments.”

“Taking the case forward to set up a panel to consider New Zealand’s complaint is the appropriate and necessary step to ensure full implementation of the CPTPP rules.”

Federated Farmers dairy industry chair Andrew Hoggard

Federated Farmers president Andrew Hoggard.
Photo: Radio NZ / Jemma Brackebush

Federated Farmers president Andrew Hoggard was also pleased the government has escalated the dispute.

Hoggard said the rule of law had to be followed and there was no point having agreements if certain people ignored them.

“It’s important that no matter how friendly the country is to us, if they’re not doing the right thing then we’ve got to hold them to account.”

Hoggard said it would be good for New Zealand if there was free access to the Canadian market.

He was looking forward to seeing how the dispute would play out.

“By and large, we have a reasonable track record when it comes to these international disputes,” Hoggard told Morning Report.

“We are doing it on the right basis and we’re justified. Often that comes through in the judgment.”

Canada and New Zealand would 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.