The Canadian Pork Council (CPC) and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) congratulate the Canadian team defending their interests in the U.S. – Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) dispute last week at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva.
CPC Chair Jean Guy Vincent reported from Geneva, “This is a very complicated process and the Canadian team performed very well in making our case and answering many complex questions.” He added, “This matter is very important to Canadian hog producers. It has been very frustrating trying to eliminate WTO illegalities in COOL. We have now been to Geneva four times to fight these unfair U.S. labelling regulations. We won nearly two years ago and the U.S. introduced a new system which is even worse for Canadian livestock exports.”
CCA officials in Geneva have indicated that a particularly noteworthy development in the hearing was the U.S. concession that the amended COOL measure has not eliminated the detrimental impact on Canadian and Mexican livestock. “This means that the U.S. position is as long as consumer information is a legitimate objective, they can discriminate against their trading partners,” said CCA President Martin Unrau.
“The blatant protectionism of the U.S. position was clear throughout the hearings,” Mr. Vincent explained. “It was very satisfying to hear the Chairman of the Panel tell the U.S. lawyers that big countries and small countries in the WTO have the same obligations. It is taking much longer than we believe it should but we are confident that we will prevail,” he said.
Messrs. Vincent and Unrau added that the Government of Canada has been very helpful, and has issued multiple warnings that U.S. failure to make changes to be WTO consistent could result in retaliation against U.S. exports to Canada. “We hope that it does not come to this – we want our U.S. market back,” said Mr. Vincent
CPC and the CCA have been coordinating with the Government of Canada to remove the inequities of the U.S. COOL regime.
The CPC serves as the national voice for hog producers in Canada. A federation of nine provincial pork industry associations, our organization’s purpose is to play a leadership role in achieving and maintaining a dynamic and prosperous Canadian pork sector.
The CCA is the national voice of Canada’s 68,500 beef farms and feedlots.