Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz has stressed the importance of ending the discrimination against Canadian hogs and cattle under mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) and emphasized the growing recognition that COOL is harming farmers and industry in the U.S. and Canada alike. Speaking to the U.S.’s National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), Ritz stressed that should Canada prevail in the compliance proceedings as anticipated, its government will seek authorization from the World Trade Organization (WTO) to impose retaliatory tariffs on U.S. imports.
While in meeting with the NCBA in Denver, Ritz took the opportunity to meet with key U.S. meat stakeholders, business and government leaders to discuss next steps for advocating against COOL in the coming months.
“With the full support and active engagement of Canadian and U.S. industry, our government will continue to fight against this protectionist policy which is hurting producers and consumers alike. We will continue to use whatever tools necessary to achieve a fair resolution of this issue so that our livestock sectors on both sides of the border can realize their true economic potential,” said Ritz.
COOL continues to significantly disrupt the North American supply chain, Ritz said, creating unpredictability in the market and imposed additional costs on producers on both sides of the border.Following Canada’s successful challenges of COOL at the WTO in 2011 and 2012, a WTO compliance panel was established on September 25, 2013, to determine whether the U.S. has brought COOL into conformity.