CheeseOn June 20, 2016, Global Affairs Canada posted an “Invitation to comment on the administration of the new Tariff Rate Quotas and Origin Quotas that will be established under the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement“. The Tariff Rate Quotas relate to cheese and industrial cheese.

What is a Tariff Rate Quota?

A Tariff Rate Quota (also called a “TRQ”) is an import mechanism whereby the importing country establishes a quantitative restriction as a set volume of a specified product (e.g., cheese) that may be imported at a low or zero rate of duty.

In Canada, the Customs Tariff sets out a low or zero rate of duty as the “within access commitment” and usually a really high rate of duty as the “over access commitment”.  Usually, Global Affairs Canada allocates an annual volume to importers who have applied for allocation (renewable on an annual basis).  Each importation of the goods requires a specific import permit to be requested and received from Global Affairs Canada prior to importation if the importer wants to pay the “within access commitment” rate of duty.

Who Can Comment?

The Government of Canada would like to hear from all sectors of Canadian society and international stakeholders interested in Tariff Rate Quotas and Origin Quota, including from:

  • Producers, manufacturers, processors
  • Importers, exporters, distributors
  • Small and medium-sized enterprises and retailers
  • Other stakeholders, including industry associations and the public.

So, just about anyone with an interest in cheese imports from the European Union can participate in the comment process.

What Questions Has The Government Asked?

The Government of Canada has asked for comments relating to the following questions:

  1. What is your preferred allocation methodology for the new cheese Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ)? Why?
  2. Should there be a cap on the amount of quota that any one allocation holder (and related parties) may receive?
  3. What criteria should be used to determine applicants’ eligibility for an allocation?
  4. What sort of activity requirements should be used to determine whether, and the extent to which, applicants are active in the cheese sector?
  5. Should new entrants have access to a larger portion of the new TRQ than the minimum required under CETA? Please elaborate.
    1. Under CETA, during the TRQ phase-in period (Year 1 to Year 5) at least 30 percent of the TRQ will be made available to new entrants, while from Year 6 onward this level drop to at least 10 percent of the TRQ.
  6. Should the eligibility criteria and activity requirements for new entrants differ from other applicants? Why or why not?  If so, what should they be?
  7. Are there other considerations that should be taken into account in allocating the new TRQ? If so, what are they and why?
  8. Are there any Canadian regional considerations that should be taken into account in allocating the new TRQ? If so, what are they?
  9. Are there Canadian consumer/market demographics that should be taken into account in allocating the new TRQ? If so, what are they?

How to Provide Comments

  1. Complete the feedback form by July 21, 2016.
  2. Submit additional information or materials to Trade Controls Policy Division (TIC) by email to or by postal mail to:Trade Controls Policy Division (TIC)
    Global Affairs Canada
    125 Sussex Drive,
    Ottawa, ON K1A 0G2

We would be pleased to assist companies answer these questions.

For more information, please contact Cyndee Todgham Cherniak at 416-307-4168 or at Alternatively, visit