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Canada's Ag Minister Confident M-COOL Will Be Addressed in US Farm Bill

07 November 2013

US & CANADA - Canada's agriculture minister is confident the US government will address concerns over Mandatory US Country of Origin Labelling through negotiations aimed at finalizing a new US Farm Bill, writes Bruce Cochrane.

In May, in response to a World Trade Organization order to bring Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling into compliance with its international trade obligations, the US announced several amendments to the legislation.

In response Canada and Mexico have requested authorization to impose retaliatory tariffs on a wide range of US imports.

Agriculture minister Gerry Ritz says there is a window of opportunity right now to repeal COOL through the US Farm Bill.

Gerry Ritz-Canada Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

The Farm Bill is currently being conferenced or discussed by the US Senate and House of Representatives.

We spoke with the American industry to continue to press their legislators to make sure the necessary changes to bring COOL in line with their obligations under the WTO.

Canada has solid support on this issue throughout the US meat and livestock industries.

For some US packers Canada supplies up to almost half of their throughput.

They've identified several plants in the US that will be at risk of closing because of this new rule bringing thousands of American jobs down with them.

We've said all along that a legislated fix to COOL as part of the US farm bill is the best way forward.

This is an ideal opportunity to fix COOL but if the US administration doesn't move to repeal COOL we will act to protect the interests of our industry.

We have completed our consultations on the retaliatory list of products with industry and with Canadians.

That list includes US pork and beef products.

Canadians buy over 2.2 billion dollars a year of their products.

These retaliatory measures, should we be forced to bring them into effect, will put those sales at risk.

Mr Ritz says the tide on Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling has changed and he is confident, as US legislators confer on moving forward with the farm bill, they will start to answer to their own industry's concerns.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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