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CFA pleased with U.S. Country of Origin Labelling ruling


December 5, 2012
By Canadian Federation of Agriculture

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Dec. 5, 2012, Ottawa, ON – The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is pleased with the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) ruling that the United States must bring its Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) rules into compliance with international trading obligations by May 23, 2013.

“The U.S’ COOL rules deemed inconsistent with WTO obligations caused significant losses to the Canadian livestock industry over the past several years. We expect the U.S will abide by the WTO’s decision and correct its inconsistencies,” said CFA President Ron Bonnett.

“Minimizing obstacles to trade is necessary for a fair, level playing field. Implementation of this ruling will restore a more competitive, dynamic market and improve the strong trading partnership Canada and the U.S already enjoy.”

Background information (source: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada):
 
On June 29, 2012, the WTO Appellate Body confirmed the U.S. COOL measure discriminates against Canadian livestock and is inconsistent with the WTO trade obligations of the United States. The United States is expected to bring the COOL measure into compliance with its international trade obligations within the “reasonable period of time” of 10 months determined by the WTO arbitrator today. The U.S. requested that it be granted 18 months to achieve compliance from the date of adoption of the Appellate Body report on July 23, 2012, (i.e. until January 23, 2014), while Canada and Mexico aggressively argued in favour of six- and eight-month periods, respectively (i.e. January 23, 2013, and March 23, 2013). The arbitrator’s decision is not subject to appeal.
 
COOL is a mandatory United States labelling measure that forced the livestock industry in Canada to implement a burdensome labelling and tracking system. When the United States implemented COOL in 2008, the impact on the Canadian livestock industry was immediately negative. Between 2008 and 2009, exports to the United States of Canadian feeder cattle declined 49 per cent and exports of slaughter hogs declined 58 per cent. COOL led to the disintegration of the North American supply chain, created unpredictability in the market, and imposed additional costs on producers.
 
The Arbitrator’s Report is available on the WTO Website at http://wto.org/english/news_e/news12_e/384_386arb2_e.htm