New Zealand dairy industry worries over Canada pricing plan
By Rebecca Howard and Rod Nickel
WELLINGTON/WINNIPEG (Reuters) - New Zealand is closely watching changes in how Canada prices dairy products, New Zealand's trade ministry said on Friday, as industry groups in several countries complain of unfair Canadian competition.
Canada's dairy farmers and processors, which include Saputo Inc (SAP.TO: Quote) and Parmalat Canada [PLTPRC.UL], struck a pricing agreement in July that industry groups in New Zealand, Australia, the European Union, Mexico and the United States say would price domestic milk ingredients for cheese-making below cost, under-cutting their exports.
New Zealand is the second-largest cheese exporter after the European Union.
Industry groups from numerous countries sent a joint letter on Sept. 12 to their trade officials, urging them to complain to the World Trade Organization.
New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it has raised concerns with Canada, and Wellington will pursue all options to address policies that harm its exporters.
“We are paying this issue close attention and taking the concerns seriously,” New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay said last week.
The United States and Australia also raised concerns at meetings of the WTO Committee on Agriculture in Geneva this summer.
Canadian officials told the committee in August that the new pricing system would not significantly affect overall milk protein imports, according to WTO records. Continued...