US/CANADA - The Canadian government has called on the US to end its 'protectionist policy' and comply with the decision of the World Trade Organization (WTO) over Country of Origin Labelling (COOL).
The Minister for International Trade Ed Fast and the Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said the COOL policy is harmful to both Canada and the US.
“The WTO compliance panel’s report re-affirms Canada’s long-standing view that the revised US COOL measure is blatantly protectionist and fails to comply with the WTO’s original ruling against it. The WTO’s clear and consistent findings in support of Canada’s position effectively supply a clear message to the US: end this protectionist policy that creates economic harm on both sides of our border, and comply with your international trade obligations,” they said.
“The US COOL policy hurts businesses and workers in both the US and Canada. The Harper government will continue to stand up for our farmers, ranchers and workers to bring this harm to an end.
“Canada is deeply disappointed that the US has so far been unwilling to make the changes required to respect their trade obligations. In light of today’s ruling, Canada calls upon the US to enact legislative change to eliminate COOL’s discriminatory treatment against Canadian hogs and cattle.
“Canada will be watching this situation closely to ensure US compliance in accordance with the WTO’s clear ruling. We will continue to fully assert our rights to achieve a fair resolution to our concern, including seeking authorization to implement retaliatory measures on US agricultural and non-agricultural products if and as necessary.”
In the US, two congressmen, Representatives Rick Crawford (R-AR) and Jim Costa (D-CA), Chairman and Ranking Member and of the Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit have described the WTO ruling as the end of a months-long period of speculation.
They said that the ruling by the WTO “presents an opportunity for policy makers to work alongside industry representatives, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), and the USDA, to amend the COOL statute so that it will be in compliance with our international obligations.
“This good faith effort will create more stability within the market, restore relationships with some of our most significant trading partners and prevent possible trade retaliations from Canada and Mexico.
“We stand ready to begin this work as soon as possible and urge the USTR and USDA to join us along with industry officials in this effort.”
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