CCA: Time to Take COOL to the WTO

CANADA - The Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) has announced that they will rally the government to challenge the US on the Country-or-origin labelling legislation.
calendar icon 2 March 2009
clock icon 2 minute read

The CCA met with Government of Canada officials last week to discuss new voluntary guidelines suggested by United States (U.S.) Secretary of Agriculture, Thomas Vilsack, in conjunction with the final rule implementing U.S. mandatory Country-of-Origin Labelling (mCOOL), which takes effect March 16, 2009.

The CCA says that if adopted, these substantive changes will further disrupt cattle and beef trade between Canada and the U.S. CCA is calling for the Canadian government to undertake all available actions, including an early resumption of a World Trade Organization (WTO) challenge against these U.S. trade-restrictive actions.

While Secretary Vilsack is not immediately revising the final rule, published in January 2009, he communicated to the U.S. industry that he expects adoption of his suggested voluntary guidelines. Vilsack added that if these substantive changes don’t take place, then he will amend the rule to enforce the changes.

CCA President, Brad Wildeman, notes that the guidelines substantially change the intent of mCOOL’s final rule. “In our view, the guidelines, as written, will be worse than the interim final rule that the Government of Canada was challenging through the WTO. The implications for the industry on both sides of the border are significant.

"If the Secretary’s suggestions are adopted, either ‘voluntarily’ or through subsequent rulemaking, the rule will become even more onerous, costly and impractical than it is now, and extremely trade disruptive.

"The threat of forcing ‘voluntary’ compliance is tantamount to creating a de facto rule that’s very damaging to Canada’s red meat industries, as the U.S. industry will likely ease their compliance burden by avoiding purchase of imported animals and beef.”

TheCattleSite News Desk

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