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WTO Decides COOL Retaliation Amounts

08 December 2015

GLOBAL - The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has reached a decision on the amount that Canada and Mexico are allowed to claim from the US in retaliatory tariffs, due to Country of Origin Labelling (COOL).

The dispute dates back for years, but the WTO decided this year that mandatory COOL violated international trade rules, because it disadvantaged companies importing meat and livestock into the US.

Now the WTO has said that Canada can suspend tariff concessions and other trade obligations to the US to the value of CA $1,054.729 million, whilst Mexico can do so to the value of US $227.758 million.

The two countries must ask the WTO again for approval before the new tariffs can be activated, however.

Canada’s beef and pork sectors welcomed the WTO decision.

A joint statement from Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Canadian Pork Council, National Cattle Feeders’ Association and Canadian Meat Council, said: "Our patience is exhausted. There is no further negotiation to be done and no compromise is acceptable. Canadian livestock producers and meat processors expect the US to do nothing less than repeal COOL or face the immediate imposition of retaliatory tariffs on US goods to the same extent as the damage we have endured."

NPPC Calls for Labeling Requirement Repeal

Following the announcement, the US National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) renewed its call for Congress to repeal labeling requirements for beef, pork and poultry.

“America’s pork producers need congressional lawmakers to recognize the imminent harm our economy faces,” said NPPC President Dr Ron Prestage, a veterinarian and pork producer from Camden, S.C.

“Retaliation has been authorized, and our exports to the number 1 and 2 markets will suffer and so will US farmers, business people and consumers.

“We need Congress to repeal the labeling provision for beef, pork and poultry now.”

According to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, the average US pork producer currently is losing money on each hog marketed, and retaliation from Canada and Mexico against US pork would exacerbate those losses.

The House of Representatives in June voted to repeal the COOL meat labeling provisions, but the Senate has yet to act on the matter.

ThePigSite News Desk

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