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Industry Satisfied with WTO Decision on US over COOL Labelling

06 December 2012

CANADA - Following the World Trade Organisation's (WTO) decision that the United States has until May 23, 2013, to bring its Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) measure into compliance with its WTO obligations, International Trade Minister Ed Fast, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and the Canadian pork industry have issued statements in support of the decision.

Ministers Fast and Ritz stated: “Our Government has stood firm with our cattle and hog producers against the unfair country-of-origin labelling of the US The WTO Appellate Body has recognised the integrated nature of the North American supply chain and marked a clear win for our livestock industry.”

“We expect that the US will bring itself into compliance with its WTO obligations by May 2013 as determined by the arbitrator for the benefit of producers on both sides of the border. We are particularly pleased that the arbitrator determined a reasonable period of time close to that proposed by Canada and Mexico, as opposed to the much longer period suggested by the United States.”

“Canada and the United States enjoy the largest bilateral trading relationship in the world. Reducing obstacles to trade has contributed to mutually beneficial supply chains, making both countries more competitive domestically and internationally. Removing onerous labelling measures, and the unfair, unnecessary costs that go with them, will improve competitiveness, boost growth, and help strengthen the prosperity of Canadian and American producers alike," concluded the ministers.

Canadian Pork Council’s Chair Jean-Guy Vincent, commented: “The Canadian pork industry welcomes the news that the United States must by May 23, 2013 bring its Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) measure into compliance with its WTO obligations. The Appellate Body was clear that the COOL measure causes discrimination and that legislative changes is needed to mitigate their discriminatory effect."

Together with the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, CPC has been engaged in years of expensive time consuming challenges and litigation to end the serious discrimination posed by COOL. Mr Vincent added: “This highly favourable result could not have been achieved without the strong and unwavering support of International Trade Minister Ed Fast and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and their officials. The dedication and excellence of Canada’s legal team and trade experts ensured that WTO dispute settlement worked as it should and could not have achieved this result without their efforts.”

Jurgen Preugschas who farms at Mayerthorpe, Alberta and CPC’s past Chair concluded: “we are looking to work with allies in Canada and Mexico, as well as the United States to find a timely and effective legislated end to this serious discrimination against Canadian feeder and slaughter hog exports. The North American hog industry is highly specialized, and was very integrated before COOL. We need to try to get back to normal as soon as possible.”

The CPC serves as the national voice for hog producers in Canada. A federation of nine provincial pork industry associations, our organisation’s purpose is to play a leadership role in achieving and maintaining a dynamic and prosperous Canadian pork sector.

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