Canadian Lawmakers Overwhelmingly Embrace Protectionist Measure

Canadian lawmakers recently gave overwhelming support to a bill that would prevent one of America’s key trading partners from making further concessions to market access.  The bill would prevent Canada’s trade officials from increasing tariff rate quotas or reducing over-quota tariffs for dairy, poultry, or eggs through international trade agreements.  Real Agriculture reports that 293 of the 318 members of the House of Commons gave approval to the bill on its second reading.  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre, along with every member of the third-party New Democratic Party and Bloc Québécois, voted in favor.

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture voiced support for the measure, saying that it would allow Canadian farmers to rely on the law and not political rhetoric to protect their interest.  The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance expressed opposition, calling it a dangerous precedent that would contradict established trade rules and diminish Canada’s reputation as a free trade partner.  Consideration of the measure comes as U.S. trade officials are pursuing another dispute resolution through USMCA to Canada’s continued use of tariff rate quotas for dairy imports.  The bill will proceed to the Trade Committee before receiving a third and final reading in the House.  If no changes are made by the Canadian Senate, the measure will go to Canada’s Governor General for Royal Assent.