Meat Processors Call on US to Comply with WTO

CANADA - Canada’s meat processing industry expects the United States to modify its current requirements following the 29 June decision by the World Trade Organisation Appellate Body on the Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) measures the US imposes on meat products.
calendar icon 3 July 2012
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In the announcement, the Appellate Body confirmed the portion of a 8 Novembe 2011 determination by a WTO Dispute Settlement Panel that found US requirements discriminate against live cattle and hogs imported into the US from Canada and are inconsistent with international trade obligations.

Canadian Meat Council President Ray Price and Executive Director James Laws accompanied Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Gerry Ritz and International Trade Parliamentary Secretary Gerald Keddy as well as Canadian cattle and swine producers at the Bryan and Tracy Willms farm near Saskatoon to discuss the WTO decision.

“The Canadian and US beef and pork production and processing sectors are critical components of an integrated North American red meat industry that provides a broad selection of high quality, safe and nutritious food products to consumers both at home and in other countries," said Mr Price.

"The imposition of bureaucratic, costly and unnecessary obstacles that make no contribution to food safety and are of little or no benefit to consumers jeopardizes North American competitiveness in the global marketplace and weakens economic growth, investment and job opportunities on farms and in meat processing facilities across Canada and the United States.

"Now that the WTO Appellate Body has announced its decision, we expect the United States to quickly bring its meat labelling regulations and practices into full conformity with international obligations.”

“The Canadian Meat Council wishes also to acknowledge the strong and public opposition of our counterparts at the American Meat Institute to US requirements that are inconsistent with international obligations. AMI member companies process 95 percent of US beef, pork, lamb, and veal products and the Canadian Meat Council welcomes their formal recognition that equitable enforcement of international trade rules by all countries is critical to maintaining access to overseas markets for North American meat products” added Mr Laws.

“We wish to recognise and congratulate Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Gerry Ritz and Minister of International Trade Ed Fast as well as officials for their unflagging commitment and perseverance in developing and presenting the Canadian perspective in bilateral discussions with their US counterparts and at the World Trade Organisation.

"The arguments that they advanced in both the bilateral and multilateral fora were fully consistent with and supportive of the shared objective announced on 4 February 2011 by Prime Minister Harper and President Obama of removing unnecessary regulatory requirements that add costs for manufacturers and for consumers.” concluded Mr Price.

Canada’s meat processing industry includes some 400 federally registered establishments, providing not only safe, high quality protein for Canadian consumers, but also adding jobs and making a significant contribution to local economic activity in both rural and urban Canada.

With approximately 67,500 employees and annual sales exceeding $ 21.3 billion, the industry is the largest segment of Canada’s food processing sector. Canada exports $1.3 billion of beef and over $3.2 billion of pork to over 120 different countries around the world. The Canadian Meat Council has represented Canada’s federally inspected meat processing industry since 1919.

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