April 19, 2024

Labeling Law Not COOL Says Canada As It Mulls Sanctions Against US

Canada is considering all options, including sanctions, if the U.S. does not rework its Country Of Origin Labeling (COOL) requirements, Canada’s Minister of Agriculture Gerry Ritz said. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proposed a change to COOL requirements for muscle cuts of meat. The proposed rule would require information about the location of each step in the production of muscle cuts of meat such as where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered. Commingling of muscle cuts would no longer be allowed.

Congress BuildingCanadian officials say the U.S. is out of compliance with rules laid out by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the proposed COOL changes do nothing to bring it into compliance. The WTO deadline for compliance is May 23, 2013.

“Our Government is focused on ensuring that Canadian producers will be able to gain and maintain broader access to diverse markets, to bolster the Canadian economy. COOL continues to have a negative economic impact on the Canadian livestock industry and we are standing with Canadian cattle and hog producers against unfair mandatory Country-of-Origin Labelling in the U.S.,” said Ritz in a statement. “Our Government will consider all options, including extensive retaliatory measures, should the U.S. not achieve compliance by May 23, 2013, as mandated by the WTO.”

While Canada talks sanctions with the U.S., it is talking up trade relations in Mexico. After meeting with USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack in the U.S., Ritz went to Mexico to strengthen trade ties.

“Canada is working closely with Mexico to ensure we are both treated fairly in global markets,” said Ritz in a statement. “Our two countries have a long history of collaboration for mutual benefit. Our agricultural industries are more integrated and more interdependent than ever before.”

It was the first meeting of Ritz and his new counterpart Agriculture Secretary Enrique Martinez y Martinez and the Secretary of Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo. They discussed a variety of issues including the proposed COOL changes.

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