Canada Takes US M-COOL Dispute Back to WTO

by 5m Editor
22 August 2013, at 7:14am

CANADA - The government of Canada has taken its case against US Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling back to the World trade Organization, writes Bruce Cochrane.

In May, in response to a World Trade Organization order to bring Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling into compliance with its international trading obligations, the United States added new labelling requirements for muscle cut covered commodities and removed provisions allowing the mixing of product originating in different countries.

On Monday the government of Canada requested the establishment of a WTO compliance panel to deal with the dispute.

Federal agriculture minister Gerry Ritz says the change fails to bring COOL into compliance and further hinders the ability of Canadian cattle and hog producers to compete in the US market.

Gerry Ritz-Canada Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

We've always seen a differential between Canadian and American livestock.

It's always been there.

It's just a cost of doing business, it's unfortunate and then when they came through with Country of Origin Labelling and started to talk about putting it into play we saw disparities of 25 dollars on a hog, 40 to 50 dollars on a cow and now we've seen those double in the last month.

We know there's a tremendous negative impact on our industry which also then couples to the American industry.

Our industry has identified over a billion dollars a year they feel is missing in that differential and the American industry is saying it will cost them some several hundred million dollars a year to implement this.

So if this is to safeguard consumers in the US they're going to pay mightily for that little bit of safeguard, which is not required.

Minister Ritz hopes American law makers will see some common sense.

He notes they do recognize the integration of the North American beef and pork markets and their own industry is telling them this is going to cost a terrific amount of money, it is not required, there are no food safety problems between the two countries and this is a misguided political direction that does not need to be in play.