Free trade talks between the EU and Canada have hit a last minute impasse, with the EU demanding more access to Canadian dairy markets and Canada wanting to sell more meat products in the EU.

Milk, poultry and eggs are subject to production marketing controls in Canada and so the Canadian government is only offering small import quotas in dairy products for European exports, while demanding significant EU meat import quotas.

A European Commission document on the talks shows the EU is not impressed. “Canada is asking important volumes of beef, in particular fresh and chilled, as well as of pork, while offering very modest dairy volumes in exchange.”

Branding the stand-off as “a major stumbling block in this end-game”, the Commission noted that for most other food products, “both sides have agreed to liberalise”. Controls will only remain for EU beef, pork and sweet corn imports and Canadian dairy, poultry and eggs imports.

Amanda Cheesley, spokesperson for EU food producers’ federation Copa-Cogeca said it wanted the EU to stick to its guns: “Until Canada moves on dairy, we’re not interested.” But Copa supports the deal in general: “We’re favourable, but not at any price. It’s more interesting for Canada as the EU market is way bigger.”