Canadian Ag Minister Says Time For Repeal of Manadatory COOL in USThu, 31 Jul 2014 16:51:55 CDT
Canada has a long history of being against the US Country of Origin Labeling Law. Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Canada Gerry Ritz attended the Cattle Industry Summer Convention in Denver, Colo. Radio Oklahoma Network Farm News Director Ron Hays interviewed Ritz on their concerns with the mandatory labeling law. Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear the full interview.
"We're seeing it as a real detriment to the integration that we have with the North American beef market," Ritz said. "Certainly we rely a large amount of our beef processing is done here in the US and as we see plants falter and not get to capacity they need because of the discrimination and segregation that is required under mandatory COOL of course that's very concerning to us."
The latest US COOL law has been in place since May 2013. This revision to the original rule was written in response to previous complaints from Canada and Mexico. Ritz said unfortunately the revision made the impact of the rule even more severe.
"We're actually seeing the discrimination actually ramped up more so than it was before," Ritz said. "Before that amendment was put into play we were looking at about a $1 billion a year that our industry has identified that they're leaving on the table because of that price descrimination due to the segregation that was required."
Canada has the taken the US administration back to the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the revised rule. Ritz anticipates the WTO will issue a public ruling in September. The US Administration has 60 days to register a final appeal. If the US repeals the WTO ruling and loses, one of the options Canada is considering is retaliation to recoup the $1 billion plus dollars lost annually. Ritz said they have put together a very comprehensive retaliatory list.
In finding a workable solution that will still provide Americans with the information that COOL provides while not hurting Canadian producers, Ritz said there is a solution.
"When its mandatory it creates that segregation and discriminatory price system," Ritz said. "If you do a voluntary label, which we do in Canada under product of Canada, you don't have that trade sanctioned problem."
Ritz said an ideal outcome would be total repeal of the COOL legislation.
"We want to see that process defined leading to repeal and leading to a time frame that is well established," Ritz said. "If it just a Band-Aid solution to get through midterms, we are not interested in that."
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