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Canada asks World Trade Organization to strike down Country of Origin Labeling law

A Canadian delegation this week will ask the World Trade Organization (WTO) to strike down the U.S. country of origin labeling (COOL) law for beef and pork, claiming it has already cost Canada’s beef industry an estimated $300 million and cut live hog exports almost in half. The Canadian federal government estimates the cattle producers, mainly in Alberta and Saskatchewan, stand to lose an average of $5,195 this year, because of COOL and the effect of the strong Canadian dollar.

John Masswohl of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association said a major element of Canada’s argument against COOL is that there has been “an economic disadvantage to marketing Canadian livestock” in the U.S. because of COOL. “Part of that disadvantage is that U.S. livestock buyers have paid lower prices for Canadian cattle because they incur additional costs because of this law and their only way to recover these costs is to pay less for Canadian cattle.”

The president of the Canadian Pork Council said before COOL took effect, Canada exported about 10 million live hogs to the U.S. annually. That number has now dropped to about 5 million, he said.

Mexico is also challenging COOL this week, at hearings in Geneva, Switzerland. A delegation of U.S. government officials and lawyers are on hand to defend it. The WTO ruling isn’t expected until next summer.

A Canadian delegation this week will ask the World Trade Organization (WTO) to strike down the U.S. country of origin labeling (COOL) law for beef and pork, claiming it has already cost Canada’s beef industry an estimated $300 million and cut live hog exports almost in half. The Canadian federal government estimates the cattle producers, mainly in Alberta and Saskatchewan, stand to lose an average of $5,195 this year, because of COOL and the effect of the strong Canadian dollar.

John Masswohl of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association said a major element of Canada’s argument against COOL is that there has been “an economic disadvantage to marketing Canadian livestock” in the U.S. because of COOL. “Part of that disadvantage is that U.S. livestock buyers have paid lower prices for Canadian cattle because they incur additional costs because of this law and their only way to recover these costs is to pay less for Canadian cattle.”

The president of the Canadian Pork Council said before COOL took effect, Canada exported about 10 million live hogs to the U.S. annually. That number has now dropped to about 5 million, he said.

Mexico is also challenging COOL this week, at hearings in Geneva, Switzerland. A delegation of U.S. government officials and lawyers are on hand to defend it. The WTO ruling isn’t expected until next summer.


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