+ RMA Rural Municipalities
of Alberta

Resolution 2-04F

Supplementary Tariff Rate Quotas

January 1, 2004
Expiry Date:
December 1, 2007
Active Status:
Vote Results:

WHEREAS Canadas major beef trade export markets closed their borders to Canadian beef because of a single case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE);AND WHEREAS free movement of Canadian beef has still not been fully restored;AND WHEREAS closure of these international markets has resulted in a severe oversupply of beef in Canada, crippling the industry;AND WHEREAS Canadas agreement on international trade through the World Trade Organization sets a tariff-rate quota (TRQ) of 76,409 tonnes for beef imported from non-NAFTA countries tariff free;AND WHEREAS the Minister of International Trade can issue supplementary TRQs which allow imports of beef from non-NAFTA countries tariff free even after TRQ limits have been reached;AND WHEREAS the issuance of supplementary TRQs has been resumed as of April 26, 2004;AND WHEREAS supplementary TRQs will have a negative impact on increasing domestic slaughter capacity by decreasing demand for domestic beef products;

Operative Clause:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Canada to permanently discontinue the issuance of supplementary TRQs.

Member Background:

When a single case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease, was reported on May 20, 2003, Canadas major beef trade export markets closed their borders to Canadian beef. These borders are still not fully open. This has resulted in a huge surplus of beef in the Canadian market and devastation to the industry. Added to this is the immediate crisis of what to do with mature bulls and cows.Under international trade agreements through the World Trade Organization, Canada has a commitment that will allow the importation of up to 76,409 tonnes of beef tariff free from non-NAFTA countries. This tariff-rate quota, or TRQ, is administered through International Trade Canada, a department of the federal government.Canadian companies can continue to import beef from these countries once the total imported from these countries reaches 76,409 tonnes if they pay a tariff of 26.5 per cent. The Minister of International Trade however can issue supplementary TRQs. If the minister issues supplementary TRQs, the importer can import beef from these countries tariff free even though our commitment to the international community of 76,409 tonnes tariff free has been met. For example, in 2002 Canada took in 128,500 tonnes, which is 52,091 tonnes over the obligatory amount and 168 per cent of our global quota. This imbalance in import policy has gone on so long that we have steadily lost cow killing capacity in this country. Nineteen plants that once killed cows in Canada have closed since 1985. Low-priced imports have depressed Canadian cow prices and destroyed our killing capacity to the point that in 2002, 43 per cent of our cows and 78 per cent of our bulls were exported live for slaughter in U.S. plants.The U.S. border to date remains closed to export of mature cows and bulls. The best plan now is to again increase slaughter capacity within Canada to allow the slaughter of the excess mature cows and bulls. It is also imperative that we maintain this slaughter capacity indefinitely to avoid the pitfalls encountered by the May 20, 2003 border closing. One key step in not only increasing slaughter capacity, but also in maintaining this capacity is to permanently remove supplementary quotas.Supplementary TRQs have been resumed as of April 26, 2004. Under the Export and Import Permits Act, Serial No. 662, amendments have been made to the supplementary TRQ regulations. Under the changes Supplemental imports of beef and veal will not be authorized unless neither the specific product nor a reasonable substitute is available at a competitive price from a Canadian supplier. The changes still open the door to supplementary beef entering Canada at lower costs than domestic beef further threatening an already decimated beef industry. In addition, the U.S. has never allowed supplementary TRQs despite the fact that the U.S. has one cow per 6.7 people versus Canada with one cow per 5.2 people and despite the fact that the American consumer eats more beef than the Canadian consumer by about 10 pounds. If the U.S. does not need supplementary TRQs why does Canada find them necessary?Despite changes in the approval of supplementary TRQs, the County of Newell still feels they are unnecessary and stand to hinder rather than enhance the recovery of the beef industry. For the long-term prosperity of our industry, we believe that supplementary TRQs should never be issued. We ask for your support of our resolution and thank you for your consideration.

RMA Background:

Resolutions 2-03F and 3-03F, endorsed by delegates at the fall 2003 convention, urge the federal government to permanently discontinue the issuance of supplementary tariff rate quotas (TRQs) and refrain from penalizing TRQ holders that do not use 90% of their quota and do not turn in their quotas for the years 2003 and 2004.Resolution 2-03F was adopted by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) at their September 2003 board meeting. Resolution 3-03F was adopted by the FCM board in November 2003.


The AAMDC has previously approved a resolution (2003) calling on the federal government to discontinue the issuance of supplementary tariff rate quotas in support of the beef industry. This previous resolution was also passed by the FCM and this policy position continues to be taken forward to federal decision makers by both organizations.

Provincial Ministries:
Agriculture and Rural Development
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