Friday, November 18, 2011

Canada wins meat labeling case against U.S. at WTO

  The WTO(World Trade Organisation) ruled in favor of Canada's complaint that U.S. country of origin rules for meat labeling (COOL) lowered processing efficiency and distorted trade between the two countries. The ruling will apply not just to cattle and hogs but also to other commodities such as chickens that were also subject to the COOL label requirements. Mexico had joined Canada in arguing the case before the WTO.
    In 2008 when COOL was introduced Canadian animals had to be segregated and processed in separate lines to be packaged and labeled. The added costs caused some U.S. processors to refuse to buy Canadian livestock or to buy them only at deep discounts. Some U.S. processors actually sided with the complaint against the U.S.
  The U.S. can file an appeal within 60 days. However Canada won on all counts. The Canadian agriculture minister hopes that he can reach an agreement with the U.S. on implementing the decision of the WTO. The COOL requirements are estimated to have cost the Canadian livestock industry up to 5 billion dollars. One result of the requirements has been to provide an incentive for Canada to further diversity its export markets for livestock. For more see this article.

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