Canada Publishes Special Agricultural Safeguard Price and Volume Triggers

Canadian Poultry
October 03, 2008
By Canadian Poultry
Oct. 3, 2008 - The Government of Canada has given notice of the volume and price triggers that will be used to operationalize the World Trade Organization (WTO) Special Agricultural Safeguard (SSG) for Canada's supply-managed products.

The Special Agricultural Safeguard is a provision that allows additional duties to be triggered automatically when import volumes rise above a certain level, or if prices fall below a certain level.

The government's notice containing the price and volume triggers for the various tariff lines is available at the following website:

The price trigger is an average reference price derived from average unit value of the imported product, or cost at the border of the importing country from years 1986-1988. These are historic prices and are therefore quite low and unlikely to be activated. Canada's volume trigger is based on 125% of the three-year average total imports. Canada has included supplementary imports in its calculations of the volume triggers.

WTO rules require that any member taking action on the SSG notify the WTO Committee on Agriculture. Canada's supply managed sector is protected by a tariff rate quota system that allows a fixed quantity (quota) of a product into Canada at a low tariff rate and, once that quota has been reached, subsequent imports of the product are subject to prohibitively high tariffs. However, Canada regularly issues supplementary import permits, such as when there are product shortages in the domestic market, and for the Import to Re-Export Program (IREP), where chicken processors can import chicken under a supplementary import license for use in processing provided they export the associated processed product. These supplementary imports are not subject to the high over-quota access tariffs (i.e. tariff free).

As a result, total import volume levels often appear to exceed the established quota level by a substantial amount.

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