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Time Running Out to Avoid Trade Retaliation Over M-COOL

By Bruce Cochrane

The National Pork Producers Council warns time is running out for the United States to avoid trade retaliation from Canada and Mexico related to U.S. Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling, and is urging swift Congressional action to repeal the meat labelling provisions of the law.

In May, the World Trade Organization rejected the final appeal of previous rulings that Mandatory COOL discriminates against imported livestock, opening the door for Canada and Mexico to apply to impose retaliatory tariffs on imported U.S. products.

National Pork Producers Council Trade Committee chair and past president Dr. Howard Hill says the WTO will meet soon to look at the tariffs that Canada and Mexico want to impose, those tariffs will go into place and it will be very damaging to the pork industry, as well as all of the other commodities on the retaliation list.

Dr. Howard-National Pork Producers Council:
We're working hard to see if we can get total repeal of COOL.
When it comes to Canadian food safety and U.S. food safety, they're comparable, they're equal, so we really don't think that people would choose one over the other necessarily in the market place if it was labelled.

We're not against labelling.
If somebody wants to label, that's fine.

We just don't want it to impact the price like it's going to here where you've got this mandatory labelling, even the voluntary labelling now that they're suggesting.

If the Canadians don't accept it, it's going to have the same effect as if we had mandatory labelling.

Dr. Hill says its all about timing now.
He notes the WTO will listen soon to the Canadian and Mexican arguments on tariff levels, and if the legislation hasn't been fixed, those tariffs will be implemented almost immediately after.

Source: Farmscape

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