Ritz Unhappy as US Goes Ahead with COOL

CANADA - Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz issued the following statement today as the Government of Canada tabled its official comments on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding its recently published interim final rule on implementation of the mandatory country-of-origin labelling (COOL).
calendar icon 8 September 2008
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"The Government of Canada is disappointed the U.S. is moving forward with the COOL legislation," said Minister Ritz. "The possibility that this may discriminate against Canadian products is a concern, therefore, the Government of Canada is working with industry and the provinces and territories to minimize any impact on Canadian farmers and ranchers."

"Reducing obstacles to trade has contributed to mutually-beneficial supply chains"
Gerry Ritz, Federal Agriculture Minister

"Trade between Canada and the U.S. has tripled since the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, and then the North American Free Trade Agreement," Minister Ritz noted. "Reducing obstacles to trade has contributed to mutually-beneficial supply chains, making both countries more competitive domestically and internationally."

The U.S. Congress passed the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (the 2008 U.S. Farm Bill) in June. This legislation requires the mandatory COOL rule for beef, lamb, pork, chicken and goat meat, along with perishable agricultural commodities, peanuts, pecans, ginseng and macadamia nuts, to be implemented by September 30, 2008.

The implementation of the COOL rule for food products has happened in stages. Implementation for fish and shellfish was effective April 4, 2005. However, implementation for all other commodities was delayed until September 2008. As it did in 2003, 2005 and 2007, the Government of Canada today submitted comments to the U.S. Federal Register, outlining its views on the rule.

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