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Amended US COOL Regulations Go from Bad to Worse

27 May 2013
Manitoba Pork Council

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CANADA - The Canadian Pork Council warns amendments to US Country of Origin Labelling regulations will increase the discrimination against imported livestock that prompted Canada and Mexico to challenge the legislation at the World Trade Organization, writes Bruce Cochrane.

In 2011 a World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Panel ruled in favor of Canada and Mexico, that US Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling discriminates against imported livestock and last December the US was been given until May 23, 2013 to change the legislation or risk retaliatory tariffs.

Yesterday, in response to the order, the US issued a final rule amending labelling provisions for muscle cut covered commodities to require the origin designation to indicate where each production step occurred and to remove the allowance for commingling.

Canadian Pork Council vice-chair Rick Bergmann says the legislation has gone from bad to worse.

Rick Bergmann-Canadian Pork Council

The new rule will really strip away any flexibility to comingle Canadian and US animals at processing plants so really the new rule doesn't do anything in the reduction of the discrimination.

What it does is it enhances it again.

This ruling is certainly to the chagrin of Canadian producers but it's also a concern for AMI, the American Meat Institute and many others in the US who see this as something harmful.

Canada and Mexico can now appeal to the WTO for a ruling on whether the changes bring the US law into compliance and request the authority to impose retaliatory tariffs on imported US products.

Bergmann notes the Canadian Pork Council would prefer to avoid retaliation but it will be standing behind the federal government as it moves forward.

TheMeatSite News Desk

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