CANADA - The general manager of Manitoba Pork suggests pork producers on both sides of the Canada US border will be hurt if Canada is forced to proceed with retaliatory tariffs in response to US Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling, writes Bruce Cochrane.
A delegation representing Manitoba Pork will travel to the US Midwest later this month to take part in the Minnesota Pork Congress and the Iowa Pork Congress as part of a trade advocacy mission.
Manitoba Pork general manager Andrew Dickson says among the issues that will be discussed is US Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling.
Andrew Dickson-Manitoba Pork:
We're now at the stage where we'll be going to Geneva in February to deal with the appeal by the US of the ruling from the compliance panel that came out in the fall and we have every expectation that the panel will be favorable to our position on this and we're expecting that report to come out some time in May and the next step after that will be this whole issue of retaliatory measures.
We know US producers are particularly sensitive on this.
Pork imports from the United States into Canada is one of the listed items that may be subject to an import tax if the US doesn't change the rules on COOL after a favorable WTO hearing.
And of course the thing is, if we're into this sort of retaliatory issue we're all going to lose.
Any backup of pork into the US system will essentially mean that there'll be lower prices in the United States and that means our producers get lower prices as well so no one in the pork industry wants to be involved in retaliatory measures.
It's not good for our producers so we have get this matter resolved and there are huge political forces at play here in terms of trying to keep the current COOL in place.
Mr Dickson observes politics in the United States are driven by local issues and it's going to be state associations, state organisations that will help drive the move to get COOL legislation amended.
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