Canadian minister lays out COOL position

By Georgi Gyton contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Canadian livestock industry estimates damages total more than CD$1bn annually
The Canadian livestock industry estimates damages total more than CD$1bn annually

Related tags: Canadian pork council, World trade organization, International trade, Beef, Pork

Canadian minister for agriculture Gerry Ritz has reiterated the country’s position on US country of origin labelling (COOL) during a series of meetings in Washington, DC, last week.

Ritz held bilateral discussions with key representatives from the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, including newly-elected members.

He called for a "legislative fix"​ to the issue of COOL, which he claimed continued to significantly disrupt the North American supply chain, imposing additional costs to producers on both sides of the borders.

The subject of COOL has been a long-running dispute, which has seen the issue tackled by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Compliance Panel.

In December, GlobalMeatNews​ reported that the US was to appeal the WTO’s decision, in October, that the US’ amended COOL measures violated part of the Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement, resulting in less favourable treatment of imports from complainants Canada and Mexico.

The Canadian livestock industry has estimated that damages from the implementation of COOL total more than CD$1bn annually, and has stated that it is prepared to take retaliatory action against the US, should the amended COOL measures remain in place.

During his trip to Washington, Ritz led a delegation from Canada which included representatives from the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, the Canadian Pork Council, and the Canadian Meat Council.

They participated in roundtable discussions with the COOL Reform Coalition and the Barnyard Coalition, also known as the Meat and Livestock Coalition.

Ritz commented: "Mandatory COOL continues to hurt ranchers, businesses, and the overall red meat industry on both sides of the border.

"These meetings provided the opportunity to reinforce with key American legislators that the Canadian Government will continue to stand up for our farmers and ranchers and we will utilise all options, including retaliation, to ensure this harm is put to a permanent end."

Last month the Canadian Pork Council (CPC) participated in meetings with US agriculture representatives on the issue, at the 2015 convention of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Rick Bergmann, first vice-chair of the CPC, and a pork producer from Steinback, Manitoba, said: "I was encouraged to see that there is widespread support within US agriculture that COOL needs to comply with World Trade Organization rules."

CPC chair Jean-Guy Vincent added: "Retaliation will occur if all other options to resolve the dispute fail. However, I am hopeful that the COOL dispute will be resolved before retaliatory tariffs have to be implemented."

Related topics: Meat

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