Since the signing of CETA, Italian cheese exports to Canada have soared by 35%

Assolatte, the Italian association of dairy industries, celebrates the EU-Canada trade agreement signed in 2017. Recognizing tariff liberalization, the fight against Italian Sounding products , and the protection of many PDO and PGI products
Since the signing of CETA, Italian cheese exports to Canada have soared by 35%

On September 21, 2017, CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the European Union and Canada, entered into force. It was the first trade agreement entered into by the EU with another G7 country, and it was immediately very ambitious in scope.

CETA included the most extensive tariff liberalization in the history of EU trade negotiations, binding provisions on the maintenance of high environmental and social standards, the liberalization of important sectors of the economy, as well as the removal of non-tariff barriers and the protection of intellectual property.

The major advantage for consumers and businesses came from the elimination of duties” – says Paolo Zanetti, president of Assolatte, the Italian association of cheese-producing industries. “With the entry into force, 90% (Canada) and 92.2% (European Union) of tariff lines on agricultural and agri-food products were liberalized”.

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The dairy sector is a delicate area of the agreement due to the presence of a strong local Canadian production. This has not prevented CETA from reserving an export quota for EU cheeses, which has provided for the entry into Canada, at zero duty, of an additional 17,700 tons per year, 16,000 of which are destined for high-quality cheeses. “Overall, compared to the pre-CETA period, the EU products quantities admitted to facilitated conditions have more than doubled, reaching 31,900 tons,” – Zanetti says – and Italian companies have been able to take full advantage of this opportunity”.

Assolatte’s data speak for themselves. In 2020, the exports of Italian cheeses to Canada reached 7 thousand tons, with an increase of +35% compared to 2017, the year in which the agreement became operational. This growth affected the sales of almost all categories of cheeses, starting with mozzarella, which grew 9 times, and provolone (+232%). There was also considerable growth for grated cheeses (+37%), Asiago PDO (+28%), Grana Padano PDO and Parmigiano Reggiano PDO (+27% each), Gorgonzola PDO (+25%), Pecorino (+11%), and other fresh cheeses (+27%). The association’s estimates suggest record sales even in 2021, as the growth rate of Italian cheese exports to Canada is +5%.

There are two other important elements to underline about CETA” – says Zanetti. “First of all, the fight against Italian sounding. Then comes the recognition and protection of the main European PDO and PGI denominations, where Italian cheeses can boast the lion’s share”.

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