Saputo 'should be involved' in the allocation of additional EU cheese quota

By Mark ASTLEY contact

- Last updated on GMT

Saputo 'should be involved' in the allocation of additional EU cheese quota

Related tags: International trade

Saputo believes it should have a say on the allocation of 17,700 tonnes of European cheese set to flood the Canadian market under the Comprehensive Trade and Economic Agreement (CETA).

Under CETA, the freshly negotiated free trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and Canada, the EU is permitted to export an additional 17,700 tonnes of cheese - 16,000 tonnes of fine cheese and 1,700 tonnes of industrial cheese - to Canada tariff-free each year.

Currently - CETA comes into effect in 2016 - the EU is permitted to export around 13,000 tonnes of cheese to Canada each year.

Leading Canadian dairies, including Saputo and Agropur, have raised concerns about the "allocation"​ of this extra European cheese. 

Earlier this month, Agropur CEO, Robert Coallier, said the company hopes "the allocation of the new import quota will be made in a way to avoid cannibalizing the domestic products."

Following a speech to the Canadian Club of Montreal this week, Lino Saputo Jnr, CEO of Saputo, told reporters that "those that are part of the industry, those that have import licences already, those that have a vested interest in the industry, should inherit those new licenses."

Speaking with yesterday, Sandy Vassiadis, corporate communications director, Saputo, said that at the moment it does not "know how it will be distributed."

Saputo believes, however, that it and other big players in the Canadian dairy sector "should be involved in the decision process" ​to "protect the industry,"​ she said.

"Cheese consumption in Canada is very stable,"​ said Vassiadis.

"It is not going to grow at the rate these extra tonnes of cheese will be coming in."

"It affects the whole industry, but it will for sure have a greater impact on the smaller, artisanal cheese businesses."

"It is for the benefit of the industry," ​she added.

Related topics: Markets, Cheese

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