CANADA - The president of the National Pork Producers Council remains hopeful the US Congress will take action to resolve the Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling issue before Canada and Mexico are granted authority to impose retaliatory tariffs on imported US products, writes Bruce Cochrane.
In October the World Trade Organisation compliance panel determined changes to US Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling in May 2013 failed to bring the law into compliance with US international trade obligations, and in November the US filed its final appeal.
National Pork Producers Council president Dr Howard Hill notes it's been estimated that if that appeal is lost and Canada and Mexico are granted authority to impose retaliatory tariffs on imported US products it'll cost two billion dollars per year until the matter is resolved.
Dr Howard Hill-National Pork Producers Council:
I personally, and the NPPC agrees with the WTO.
We think that we have not upheld our international obligation here, and I think the US has kicked the can down the road so to speak, and has asked for this appeal, which my understanding is will take a couple more months, and at that point most likely the court will find again that the US is not in compliance, and at that point Mexico and Canada can start to have retaliation in the form of increased tariffs, which we don't want and, I know reading some material from the Canadian pork producers council that they don't want that either.
They don't think that's good for either of our industries or our economies, and so we hope that at that point the US Congress will put a fix in that will be compliant with WTO and we won't have to go through the retaliation phase of this whole conflict.
Dr Hill notes the idea of Country of Origin Labelling came out of the beef industry, not the pork industry, but we're all going to suffer if it doesn't get resolved.
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