Canada Complains Over labelling Laws

CANADA - International Trade Minister Stockwell Day says the new U.S. meat labelling rules are devastating the Canadian livestock industry.
calendar icon 28 April 2009
clock icon 1 minute read

Canada is filing a formal complaint with the World Trade Organization about a U.S. country-of-origin meat-labelling law that International Trade Minister Stockwell Day says is devastating the Canadian livestock industry, writes Adrian Wyld, Canadian Press.

According to the news organisation, during a meeting Monday in Washington, Day informed Ron Kirk, the top U.S. trade representative, about Canada's WTO challenge to the law. The legislation, known as COOL (Country of Origin Labelling), requires meat processed in the U.S. but made from Canadian livestock to be labelled as Canadian rather than simply North American as has been the case to date.

"It says we think this is offside," Day said of the notice, to be filed in Geneva in the coming days. "I gave [Kirk] a heads-up … that we're moving ahead with it."

Cattle and livestock associations have been complaining bitterly about the law, which took effect in two stages — last September and in mid-March. They say that U.S. meat packers, which buy most of Canada's meat, are reluctant to segregate livestock and prepare different labels as they are required to do under the new regulations and instead forego buying Canadian livestock altogether.

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