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Agricultural News

Both Sides Await WTO Country of Origin Labeling Ruling

Tue, 26 Aug 2014 11:08:32 CDT

Both Sides Await WTO Country of Origin Labeling Ruling

The World Trade Organization has already issued their ruling regarding Canada and Mexico's compliant against the revised rule of Country of Origin Labeling proposal that was made by the Obama Administration in May 2013. That rule is currently is effect and it includes more regulation than the previous rule. The official ruling has not been made public, but the WTO has made their ruling known to the three governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States.

However this last week the Wall Street Journal sited sources that Canada and Mexico have won and the United States has lost once again. Several populists groups opposing Canada and Mexico who support COOL as rewritten by the US government have decried the Wall Street Journal article saying its premature and irresponsible journalism.

Let's go back to our conversation with Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Canada Gerry Ritz. Radio Oklahoma Network Farm News Director Ron Hays interviewed Ritz at the Cattle Industry Summer Convention in Denver, Colo in late July. At that time Ritz already knew the WTO decision, but did not share the outcome, however clearly he continues to have highly disregard for COOL as revised. Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear today's Beef Buzz.

"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 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 discrimination 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.

"It's actually gotten the attention that we thought it should and could," Ritz said. "At the end of the day that is not something we're happy to do but anyone who thinks....I think there is a growing number of people that say Canada will blink, we're too nice we won't do this, they are absolutely wrong, certainty its high on my agenda."



Ron Hays Interviews Canadian Ag Minister Gerry Ritz
right-click to download mp3


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