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Producers Hope for US M-COOL Resolution

17 December 2012
Manitoba Pork Council

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CANADA - The executive director of the Canadian Pork Council says Canada's pork producers are hopeful the US will avoid the prospects of retaliatory tariffs by bringing Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (M-COOL) into compliance with its international trade obligations, writes Bruce Cochrane.

In July the World Trade Organization upheld a November 2011 Dispute Settlement Panel ruling that US Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling discriminates against imported livestock and is inconsistent with US trade obligations.

Earlier this month a WTO arbitrator gave the United States until May 23rd to bring the labelling measure into compliance or face the prospects of retaliatory tariffs.

Canadian Pork Council executive director Martin Rice says the hope of the Canadian pork industry is to see the US implement the corrective action necessary to remove the discrimination and avoid the need for retaliation.

Martin Rice-Canadian Pork Council

We do not oppose Country of Origin Labelling and we're not arguing for the US law to be repealed or removed.

We though are saying that the US requirements under COOL do lead to unnecessary discrimination against Canadian born animals in that a processor dealing with Canadian born or Mexican born because Mexico also joined this case has to treat those animals differently.

It leads to record keeping and other requirements which caused the processors to buy less or buy no animals born in Canada.

That leads to discrimination against our product and reduced sales.

That's exactly what led to the WTO panel agreeing that those different requirements have lead to discriminatory treatment and that's what the US has to under WTO law, under WTO panel decisions needs to correct.

Mr Rice hopes to see the changes that will restore the opportunity to sell Canadian born live swine and cattle into a free and open US market as was envisioned by the integration of the North American market since NAFTA.

ThePigSite News Desk

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