Imported brie, gouda and camembert could all become more affordable under free trade with the European Union.
The agreement, signed last week, will double the amount of tariff-free European cheese allowed into Canada.
Some cheese-makers have expressed concerns they could lose market share under the agreement, but Island cheese producers are confident their customers will remain loyal to a quality product that's local made.
Nanaimo import food retailer Eric McLean hopes the agreement will lead to price reductions, but he's not counting on it until after the agreement takes effect, next year.
"The way the system works, in Canada it will have an effect on importers," said McLean, whose popular Fitzwilliam Street store offers more than 100 varieties of cheese from around the world.
He said it's too early to guess whether it'll mean lower prices for consumers after the agreement takes effect.
"That remains to be seen," he said "The expectation is prices will drop a bit - that's why domestic suppliers are concerned. It would be nice if (it means) availability was greater for selection of products.
"That's what it looks like, if they're allowed to bring in a wider variety and make it more available, that's a good thing."
Under the agreement, 29,000 tonnes of EU cheese will be allowed into Canada, an increase of 13,000 tonnes. The competition doesn't worry Clark Gorlay, owner of Little Qualicum Cheese Works, which produces 150 kilograms daily in French Creek. "Wherever you buy our cheese, generally there's European cheese available and we already have the competition," Gorlay said.
"The whole idea of reducing your carbon footprint, by not shipping your cheese from Europe, there's a lot of support there," he added. "They compete because they have export subsidies on their product," he said. "It's not better or different, it's that they can produce it cheaper."
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