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Major U.S. firms support Canada in meat battle

Posted by Flaman Agriculture Dec 10, 2015

10 Dec 2015

U.S. firms support Canada in meat battle

WASHINGTON Canada is getting the backing of considerable American corporate muscle at a determining moment in an ongoing trade struggle with the United States Congress.
About 250 U.S. companies and trade associations have sent a letter to every member of the U.S. Senate, urging them to heed Canadian and Mexican concerns over meat-labelling rules.
This comes after the World Trade Organization sided with Canada and Mexico in the dispute, opening the door to the imminent imposition of tariffs on American goods including meat, wine, and frozen orange juice.
The letter warns that the U.S. will face US$1 billion in tariffs on a wide range of products unless the chamber does away with a requirement that meat on American grocery shelves be labelled by its country of origin.
It’s signed by some of the country’s best-known companies, including Coca-Cola, Kraft and General Mills, as well as trade associations representing everything from livestock-producers to vineyards.
“There’s a lot of powerful U.S. paddlers joining Canada in this canoe to get repeal of COOL (country-of-origin labelling),” Gary Doer, Canada’s U.S. ambassador, said of the letter.
After a years-long dispute, the issue could be decided by the holidays.
Proponents of meat-labelling call it a fair system for letting consumers know where their food comes from. Opponents say it does nothing for food safety — for which there are already inspections.
They argue that it’s just disguised protectionism — a system that forces importers to spend extra money to separate foreign and domestic livestock, drives up the cost of imports and makes them less competitive.
The World Trade Organization has sided against the U.S., allowing penalties on American products.
Now the letter-signers want the Senate to adopt a bill passed in the House of Representatives that does away with the requirement that meat sold in the U.S. be labelled by country of origin.
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Posted by Flaman Agriculture Jul 30, 2015

Released on July 30, 2015

Today, Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart reiterated the importance of the U.S. Senate’s outright repeal of Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) for beef and pork.  

“Frankly, this issue has been dragging on for far too long,” Stewart said.  “The expense and loss for our cattle and hog producers has been significant.  The U.S. has had more than enough time to do the right thing and fully repeal COOL for beef and pork.  If COOL isn’t fully repealed for beef and pork, we will get to the point where retaliation is inevitable.  While the costs for both Canada and the U.S. will be enormous, the U.S. must comply with their trade obligations.” 

The World Trade Organization (WTO) originally ruled in 2012 that COOL was discriminatory to Canadian hog and beef exports.  A final ruling by the WTO in May, 2015 reaffirmed that the U.S. COOL measure is inconsistent with international trade commitments.  

On June 10, 2015 the U.S. House passed a bill that would allow for the outright repeal of COOL for beef and pork while avoiding retaliation.  However, a new Bill calling for voluntary labelling has stalled efforts to get the Bill passed in the Senate. 

“The proposed solution of voluntary labelling as introduced by Senator Stabenow will not solve the problem,” Stewart said.  “This proposal is nothing more than COOL re-worded and will continue to result in discrimination towards Canadian cattle and hogs.  

Saskatchewan will continue to stand alongside the federal government in its efforts to resolve COOL, including the implementation of $3 billion in annual retaliation if necessary. 

“The federal government has been persistent in their efforts to get COOL repealed for beef and pork, and we thank them for their work,” Stewart added. 

Since COOL was introduced in 2008, Canada’s industry has estimated damages to be in the billions due to price declines, lost sales and added costs


Full story at https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/news-and-media/2015/july/30/saskatchewan-calls-for-full-repeal-of-cool

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