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Trade Liberalization in the Dairy Sector: An Overview


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  • Meilke, Karl D.
  • Lariviere, Sylvain
  • Martin, Craig


The world dairy industry is one of the most heavily protected in the agri-food sector. Exports of dairy products are dominated by the EU, the United States, New Zealand, and Australia. The major importers of dairy products are far less concentrated but include the EU, Japan, Mexico, Russia, the United States, and many others. The Canadian dairy industry came out of the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations with the continued ability to practise supply management, thereby allowing it to: (1) maintain prices above world market levels and (2) control the allocation of output to the domestic market. In fact, the Agreement on Agriculture opened the door for Canada to become a more aggressive exporter of dairy products by practising price discrimination between domestic and export markets. The Canadian dairy export program introduced in 1995 was challenged by the United States and New Zealand, and the WTO appellate body ruled against Canada because of the involvement of government agencies in the export process. Recent changes in Canada's dairy export program remove the direct involvement of government agencies but Canada may face a new WTO challenge, one that would force the WTO to rule if price discrimination, at least in some situations, is an export subsidy. Progress towards future trade liberalization in the dairy sector will involve reductions in export subsidies and over-quota tariffs, and increases in minimum access commitments. Reductions in explicit export subsidies will have the most effect on the EU. The effects of tariff reductions and increases in minimum access on domestic product prices, production, and consumption are commodity and country specific. Careful analysis of any proposed changes in these instruments will be required to fully understand their effects, both in Canada and on world markets.

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Article provided by Estey Centre for Law and Economics in International Trade in its journal Estey Centre Journal of International Law and Trade Policy.

Volume (Year): 02 (2001)
Issue (Month): 1 ()

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Handle: RePEc:ags:ecjilt:23855

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Keywords: dairy; dispute; export competition; price discrimination; processors; tariffication; International Relations/Trade;


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  1. Chen, Kevin Z. & Meilke, Karl D., 1996. "The Simple Analytics of Transferable Production Quota: Implications for the Marginal Cost of Ontario Milk Production," Staff Paper Series 24127, University of Alberta, Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology.
  2. Frank H. Fuller & John C. Beghin & Samarendu Mohanty & Jacinto F. Fabiosa & Cheng Fang & Phillip Kaus, 1999. "Impact of the Berlin Accord and European Enlargement on Dairy Markets, The," Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) Publications 99-wp231, Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at Iowa State University.
  3. Karl D. Meilke, 1991. "Methods of Measuring Net Benefits for Agriculture," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 39(4), pages 823-834, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Rude, James & Meilke, Karl D., 2006. "Canadian Agriculture and the Doha Development Agenda: The Challenges," Estey Centre Journal of International Law and Trade Policy, Estey Centre for Law and Economics in International Trade, vol. 7(1).
  2. Emayenesh, Seyoum & Goddard, Ellen W. & MacLearn, Donald & Griffith, Garry R., 2002. "Modelling World Dairy Trade: The Potential Impact of Officially Supported Export Credits on the Australian Dairy Industry," 2002 Conference (46th), February 13-15, 2002, Canberra 125165, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
  3. Meilke, Karl D. & Rude, James & Burfisher, Mary E. & Bredahl, Maury E., 2001. "Market Access: Issues And Options In The Agricultural Negotiations," Commissioned Papers 14625, International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium.
  4. Seyoum, Emayenesh & Goddard, Ellen W. & MacLaren, Donald & Griffith, Garry R., 2003. "International Trade In Dairy Products: Processors Market Power," 2003 Conference (47th), February 12-14, 2003, Fremantle, Australia 58256, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.


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