M-COOL Continues to Disrupt Trade in Hogs

by 5m Editor
23 April 2008, at 10:01am

CANADA - The president of Paragon Economics predicts uncertainty over the passage of the 2008 U.S. Farm Bill and what that will mean for Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling will continue to disrupt trade and harm relationships between the Canadian and U.S. hog industries, Bruce Cochrane.

With final passage of the 2008 U.S. Farm Bill and the amendments to Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling it contains uncertain American pork producers are unsure whether they'll be able to sell pigs originating in Canada after September 30.

If the 2008 Farm Bill remains stalled, the original 2002 version of COOL will end up being implemented.

Paragon Economics president Dr. Steve Meyer suggests, even if a compromise is reached, it's unrealistic to expect full implementation of Mandatory COOL by September 30.

Dr. Steve Meyer-Paragon Economics

When we implemented Country of Origin Labelling on fish and shellfish three years ago USDA basically gave the industry six months, kind of an education time and six months to clear the channels of commerce so about as year to get that implemented before they started enforcing it.

I think the same kind of time period is going to apply here but if you've got legal liabilities you're not very comfortable in not knowing what the rules are when the thing goes into effect.

The folks that are running USDA now I think are pretty reasonable people but we've got the rule that were written for the 2002 law.

It's not necessarily applicable for the changes that we have in place now in this law so how quickly can they get the rules redone?

I don't like having an industry that's subject to a federal law and we don't have clearly written rules at all at the present time.

That uncertainty is part of what's really playing on some of these livestock markets.

Dr. Meyer says, with folks saying they won't be buying any more Canadian feeder pigs, the issue is having a negative impact on trading relations.

However he remains confident there will be a market for Canadian sourced pigs but at a discount to the American pigs.

5m Editor