Canada’s new tariff rate quotas for cheese imports from the European Union


Under the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), Canada will establish two new tariff rate quotas (TRQs) for cheese originating in the European Union: one for 16,000,000 kg of cheeses of all types and one for 1,700,000 kg of cheeses of all types to be used in food processing (industrial cheese).

The Government of Canada has decided to allocate the 16,000,000-kg cheese quota (all types of cheese) across the cheese value chain. The chain includes cheese manufacturers, distributors and retailers, with portions of the quota being specifically reserved for small and medium-sized enterprises.

The 1,700,000-kg industrial cheese quota will be made available entirely to further processors who use cheese to manufacture food products.

Each of the two quotas will be completely open to new entrant applicants (companies that do not currently have an allocation under Canada’s existing World Trade Organization cheese TRQ). Eligibility for an allocation will be assessed on the basis of each applicant’s activity in Canada’s cheese sector, not on a history of cheese importing activity. The policies also include specific measures to help small and medium-sized enterprises and new entrants participate meaningfully in the two new quotas.

To manage the impact of these TRQs on Canada’s cheese sector, the two quotas will be phased in over five years, reaching the maximum negotiated market access quantity in January 2022. The quantity that importers will be able to import in the first year CETA is in force will be pro-rated to the period of time between September 21, the date of the agreement’s provisional application, and December 31, 2017.

The decision on how to allocate the two quotas took into account the input received from a wide range of stakeholders during a broad-based public engagement process in 2016 and 2017. The engagement process included an online questionnaire open to all interested stakeholders, webinars with provincial governments and provincial industry associations, face-to-face consultations with representatives of national industry associations from the entire cheese value chain and individual meetings with representatives of Canadian companies.

Applications for a 2017 CETA TRQ will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. on September 8, 2017, for importation to begin on October 2, 2017.

Further details on the application process, criteria for allocation and timelines can be found at:

For other CETA cheese TRQ-related questions, please contact

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