Pork Producers Hopeful US Support for WTO Will Influence M-Cool Decisions27 August 2013
CANADA - Manitoba Pork Council is hoping US support for the World Trade Organization will influence the direction it moves on Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (COOL), writes Bruce Cochrane.
In May, in response to a World Trade Organization order to bring Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling into compliance with its international trading obligations, the United States added new labelling requirements for red meats and banned the mixing of products from different countries.
Last week the government of Canada requested the establishment of a WTO compliance panel to deal with the dispute.
Manitoba Pork Council general manager Andrew Dickson stresses it's important to remember the purpose of the WTO is to encourage countries to resolve their differences among themselves which is why the process takes so long.
Andrew Dickson-Manitoba Pork Council
The WTO is trying to encourage countries to talk to each other and solve their problems without going through these long convoluted legalistic review processes and our hope was that the US government would do that.
It surprised all of us that they would actually bring out these regulations that they did in May.
All it shows is that the administration and the congress is not interested seriously in tackling the issue.
The other problem of course is the whole issue has got tied up with the Farm Bill and one of the challenges is that Congress is stalled on making any changes to the Farm Bill.
We know there are certain key senators and key representatives in Congress who know that some change needs to be made here.
The World Trade Organization is a critical body to ensure that the US can continue to thrive economically.
The US wins more cases itself with other countries that don't meet their trade obligations than it loses and so they're a big supporter of the WTO and its rules.
Mr Dickson says the sad thing is this issue could all be resolved and harmony restored with some small changes in wording both in the legislation and in the regulation.
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