Pro Farmer Editors
Canada will now pursue a case via the WTO against the U.S. over mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) of meat and meat products. Canada's International Trade Minister Stockwell Day said Canada has now given the U.S. notice it is filing the complaint.
Under WTO rules, this activates a 60-day consultation period where the two sides are to meet to see if a solution can be found. If not, the Canada can request a dispute settlement panel be established to look into their claims relative to COOL.
"By giving formal notification of the consultation period, it says, 'We think this is offside,' " Day said at the Canadian embassy.
Initial rules announced for COOL were viewed as flexible enough to avoid Canadian meat from being "unfairly" targeted, Day said. But the injection of a request by USDA Sec. Tom Vilsack to U.S. meatpackers to voluntarily adhere to even stricter rules has caused uncertainty among Canadian farmers. "We are asking for them to define that. They have not defined it," Day noted.
Canada's livestock industry has been pushing their government to take action against the U.S. COOL law, noting a dramatic downturn in livestock shipments to the United States.