Renewal of WTO Challenge to COOL Urged

CANADA - The Canadian Cattlemen's Association is calling on the federal government to re-open its challenge of US Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) legislation following a call for additional voluntary labelling measures, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 26 February 2009
clock icon 2 minute read
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Last week US agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack announced the final rule for Mandatory US Country of Origin Labelling regulations will take effect, as scheduled, March 16th but he has called on US processors and retailers to implement additional voluntary labelling measures.

Canadian Cattlemen's Association foreign trade committee chair Travis Toews says the call for additional measures increases the level of uncertainty on both sides of the border.

Travis Toews-Canadian Cattlemen's Association

We're calling on the federal government to resume its WTO challenge based on these guidelines that have been subsequently submitted to US processors.

With the guidelines basically being invoked with the threat of subsequent rulemaking, we think that we have a defacto rule in place and a rule that is much more onerous than actually the interim final rule was which was the rule on which the government of Canada took action.

We were willing to let the final rule be implemented as written and sit back and see what was going to happen to our trade but the secretary's call for voluntary compliance on further guidelines is an issue for us so we're calling on the federal government to resume its WTO trade challenge.

Toews says industry sectors in the US are still assessing how they will comply with the requested voluntary labelling measures but these additional guidelines are expected to create significant disruption in live cattle trade and Canadian live cattle will be discriminated against as a result.

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