Preparations for Round Two of WTO Settlement

by 5m Editor
24 September 2010, at 12:14pm

CANADA - The legal team representing Canada in it's dispute with the US over Country of origin labeling has begun preparing for the next round of WTO hearings, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Last week a World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Panel, struck to address complaints against US Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling, heard preliminary testimony from Canada, Mexico, the US and interested third party nations.

Following two days of oral presentations the panel issued a series of questions which participants have been asked to answer in writing in advance of the second round of hearings slated for early December.

Manitoba Pork Council manager Andrew Dickson, who was part of an industry delegation that traveled to Geneva to provide background support for the Canadian legal team, says the panel is looking for clarification on a range of topics.

Andrew Dickson-Manitoba Pork Council

This is essentially a semi-court system.

Evidence has to be provided to show what the impact has been of this legislation so some of the stuff we have actually been working on for the past year is actual evidence from producers and packing plants as to what happened here as a result of COOL and the impact it's had in terms of purchases of animals shipment of animals, volumes of sales, dollar impact in terms of pricing in the United States between Category A and Category B and Category C animals.

When you look at numbers, three to four years ago Canada was shipping something like 10 million animals into the United States both for immediate slaughter or for raising in finishing barns in the United States and essentially last year we were down to five million animals.

In our view there's absolutely no question COOL has played a major factor in our ability to ship animals into the United States.

Mr Dickson acknowledges the dispute settlement process is going to take some time but, he stresses, the long term goal is to make sure we have open markets.