US M-COOL More About Protectionism, Says CPC

CANADA - The chair of the Canadian Pork Council's trade committee says US Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling legislation is more about protectionism than about providing consumers product information, according to Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 21 September 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

Last week a World Trade Organisation Dispute Settlement Panel, struck to address Canada's and Mexico's complaint against US Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling, heard preliminary arguments in the case.

Florian Possberg, the chair of the Canadian Pork Council's trade committee and a member of a pork industry delegation that traveled to Geneva to provide background support for the Canadian legal team, says this case has the potential to set a precedent for the way labelling is used in trade law around the globe.

Florian Possberg-Canadian Pork Council

Our issue with Country of Origin Labelling as defined by the US is that it is very acceptable for a country to have Country of Origin Labelling laws.

In fact Canada has some as well.

What we have issue with is, number one it's mandatory and number two the onus behind getting this legislation in place we believe was very little to do with providing consumers with information that they were demanding and a lot to do with providing a non-tariff barrier to Canadian pork competing with US product in US stores.

That is absolutely illegal in our minds and in the WTO trade laws.

That's really what we're arguing with the US is that this whole initiative was trade protectionism, very little to do with consumer information.

The second round of hearings is set for early December in Geneva.

Mr Possberg says realistically the process is expected to take a year before the panel renders its ruling.

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