Selkirk-Interlake MP Urges Compromise on COOL

CANADA - The member of parliament for Selkirk-Interlake remains hopeful Canada and the United States can work out their differences over US Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling without the need for World Trade Organisation involvement, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 30 July 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

This past May, in the wake of the failure of consultations between Canada and the US to resolve differences over US Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling, the World Trade Organisation's Director-General struck a panel to investigate Canada's concerns and hearings are set to begin at the end of August.

Last week Selkirk-Interlake MP James Bezan met with United States Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk to discuss the issue.

Mr Bezan notes the North American industry is very integrated with live animals and meat products moving freely across the Canada, US and Mexican borders but Mandatory COOL has disrupted that integration.

James Bezan-Selkirk-Interlake MP

It has created an added cost in segregation of product at the farm gate, segregation of product within the processing industry and also a significant hassle for retailers to keep it all separate and segregated on the countertops in their coolers at the grocery stores.

It doesn't do anything from the standpoint in my opinion of food protection and it doesn't do anything from the standpoint of improving food quality.

It's purely a cost burden, in excess of three billion dollars already as a direct cost in the US system and it's hurt our industry, particularly our cattle industry by as much as 60 dollars a head.

Mr Bezan observes Canada and the US have been able to settle their differences on softwood lumber and Buy American policies and there shouldn't be any reason why the two can't sit down, as neighbors, allies and friends and come to a compromise on COOL.

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