By Bruce Cochrane
The Minnesota Pork Producers Association is calling on the U.S. government to accept the World Trade Organization's ruling on Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling and move to restore normal trading relations.
In response to a WTO order to bring Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling into compliance with its international trading obligations by May 23 or face the prospects of retaliatory tariffs the U.S. Department of Agriculture is proposing to modify labeling provisions for muscle cut covered commodities to require the origin designation to indicate where each production step occurred and to remove the allowance for commingling.
Pat FitzSimmons, the president of the Minnesota Pork Board and a member of the Minnesota Pork Producers Association, told those on hand last week for Manitoba Pork Council's 2013 annual general meeting, the proposed changes are likely to fall short of the WTO's requirements.
Pat FitzSimmons-Minnesota Pork Producers Association:
It actually stiffened up some of the regulations instead of laxing them so it probably made it harder for us on that side of the border.
I do have to say though that, as president of the Pork Board, we stay out of the political side of the discussion but, as a member of the Minnesota Pork Producers Association which is our lobbying and political side, we have always stood pretty much against not supporting COOL.
The Pork Producer Association has sent a letter to the USDA stating our wishes that we would actually accept the WTO's ruling and move on from here.
At this time we would hope that our government would just let it go and get back to normal relations.
FitzSimmons says pork producers on both sides of the border face the same issues so there is no reason for the government to be monkeying around.