Jessica A. Chittenden|
February 19, 2008
Court Validates NYís Position on Canadian Milk Imports
Canadian Dairy Producers Group No Longer Allowed to Export Milk to U.S.
New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today expressed his approval of a decision by the Canadian court system against BTU36094 Group, Ltd., a group of four Ontario dairy farmers who have been shipping milk into the United States. The court found this group to be operating outside of Ontarioís mandatory quota system and granted a motion for an order restraining the group from marketing milk outside the system, including shipping milk to the United States.
"This long-awaited court decision brings hope to resolving the issue of imported Canadian milk in New York," the Commissioner said. "For at least five years now, there have been a number of dairy producers in Ontario who have defiantly shipped milk to the U.S. and I am pleased that the courtís decision acts to put a stop to this situation."
Commissioner Hooker wrote to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and United States Trade Representative Susan Schwab last November to urge swift and appropriate enforcement against these dairies. The decision against BTU36094 directs the group of producers to abide by the quota system as the Commissioner requested in his letters. Based on the courtís decision, the Commissioner is now requesting that the U.S. Trade Office take immediate action to ensure enforcement of the Canadian court ruling.
"The Canadian court has validated our concerns about the lack of quota enforcement in the Canadian dairy industry and I would expect our U.S. Trade Representative to require the Canadians to abide by the terms of this decision, NAFTA and previous WTO rulings," the Commissioner said. "Even though BTU36094 has said it will comply with the court ruling and stop shipping milk into New York, I look to the Bush administration to make certain that the Canadian government complies with our trade agreements."
All Canadian dairy producers are required to participate in a milk supply management system (or quota system), based on a 2003 dispute settlement by the World Trade Organization in order to ensure fair trade between the United States and Canada. Up until now, BTU36094 Group, Ltd. has been operating outside of the required system, and for at least five years, has been permitted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to import milk into the U.S. under a Federal Import Milk Act Permit issued
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