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CPC Welcomes Release of Potential COOL Retaliation Targets

12 June 2013
Canadian Pork Council

CANADA - The Canadian Pork Council (CPC) welcomes the Government of Canada’s publication of a list of products which are potential targets for retaliation unless and until the US brings its Country of Origin (COOL ) regulations into conformity with its WTO obligations.

"Minsters Ed Fast and Gerry Ritz have stated that the US response to WTO condemnation does not meet its obligations," said CPC’s Chair Jean- Guy Vincent.

"The new rule, if anything, increases the discrimination against imported animals and we believe that a legislative change is required to fix COOL," he added. "The release of the list of potential targets by the federal government is a clear indication of how determined Canada is to see COOL fixed. The government is standing up for our rights in this dispute. US legislators who were content to do nothing while we suffered will now have an incentive to legislate a solution, hopefully in their next Farm Bill."

Regulations implementing the 2008 Farm Bill provisions on COOL for beef and pork also place a heavy burden on American feeding operations, processors and retailers and effectively require that cattle or hogs born or raised in Canada be completely segregated from US cattle and hogs. US animals bear no such burden. The 23 May 2013, amended COOL regulations make the situation even worse than the original 2008 regulations by removing even the limited flexibilities in the original measure.

"We commissioned an analysis that shows the COOL impact on the Canadian hog sector from lost exports alone is $500 million annually," added CPC’s Past Chair Jurgen Preugschas. "This does not include any other impacts on Canada’s hog producers such as domestic price suppression or additional impact from the new COOL rule that went into effect in May."

Damage to the Canadian livestock industry has been horrendous. Since COOL was introduced in 2008, exports to the U.S. of Canadian hogs have fallen by 41 per cent and exports of cattle by 46 per cent. Estimated total damages due to price declines, lost sales and added costs to the Canadian livestock sector exceed $1 billion per year. Canada is seeing evidence already that the amended COOL regulations will increase these damages.

The WTO found that the COOL requirements created arbitrary and unjustifiable discrimination against Canadian cattle and hogs. The amendments to the COOL regulations will not bring the U.S. into compliance with its international trade obligations. Indeed the discrimination is exacerbated.

"The Government of Canada is not walking into this fight unarmed," said CPC First Vice-Chair Rick Bergmann. "The US is making a mockery of the WTO rules. We, and our fellow producers in the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association believe that it is time that protectionist elements which have caused such serious damage to Canadian farmers and ranchers understand that breaking the rules can have costs at home."

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