Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz led a Canadian delegation of provincial agriculture ministers and industry representatives to the annual North American Meat Association (NAMA) Outlook Conference in Chicago, IL, where he reinforced Canada’s position on U.S. country- of- origin labeling (COOL).
“COOL continues to hurt industries on both sides of the border, adding unnecessary red tape, delays, and costs to our integrated North American meat industry. U.S. legislators have an opportunity now through the Farm Bill to end the economic harm that COOL is having throughout North America,” Ritz said. “Our government remains committed to pursuing all options available to resolve this dispute, including retaliation.”
The delegation included Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Verlyn Olson, Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Ron Kostyshyn, as well as representatives from the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and the Canadian Pork Council. Together, federal and provincial governments stood alongside Canadian and U.S. industry to deliver a unified message of the negative impacts COOL is having on both sides of the border.
On Sept. 25, 2013, a World Trade Organization (WTO) compliance panel on COOL was established in Geneva to determine whether measures found to violate WTO obligations have been brought into conformity.
If Canada prevails in the compliance proceedings, which may include an appeal to the WTO Appellate Body, the next step would be for Canada to seek authorization from the WTO to impose retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports to Canada.
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