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WTO Approval of High Tariffs Offer Best Hope for Resolution of M-COOL Issue

20 November 2015, at 12:00am

US - A US based agricultural economist says the higher the level of retaliatory tariffs the WTO approves in response to US Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling the better the chance the issue will be addressed by the US Senate, writes Bruce Cochrane.

The World Trade Organization is expected to release its decision later this month on a Canadian and Mexican request for authorization to impose over $3,000,000,000 in annual retaliatory tariffs on a range of products imported from the US over the issue of Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling.

Dr Steve Meyer, the vice president pork analysis with EMI Analytics, told those on hand yesterday for Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2015 the US is 4 and 0 on this issue and clearly needs to fix the problem.

Dr Steve Meyer-EMI Analytics:

Unfortunately we're running out of time in the Senate.

Our House has already voted to repeal the mandatory portions for meat and poultry.

The Senate has not acted.

They've been toying with the idea of making it a voluntary program.

The problem is both the Canadians and the Mexicans said that's not sufficient.

They want it repealed.

As far as I can tell, the ball is in our court to do what you want us to do at this point.

We're still hopeful that the Senate is going to act and repeal these portions and avoid these tariffs.

If they go into place they will have some market impact in the U.S. especially the ones in Mexico.

Since Mexico is not a surplus country for pork like Canada is, you'll have more market impact there.

It's been a dozen years or so that we've been say this ain't going to work and finally we've come to the point that it isn't going to work.

I have to think that at the 11 hour when it looks like all the opportunities to do something different have been exhausted that we'll take action to avoid these tariffs but I'm applying a degree of logic that sometimes does not apply to the Congress of the United States.

Dr Meyer says the higher the level of tariffs the WTO approves the better.

He says it looks like that's the only thing that will get the attention of the Senate.

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