CALGARY, Oct. 20, 2014 /CNW/ - The National Cattle Feeders' Association (NCFA) is pleased with the ruling from the World Trade Organization (WTO) compliance panel on the US mandatory Country-of-Origin Labelling requirement (COOL). The WTO released the panel report today in Geneva. The panel report ruled overwhelmingly in Canada's favour in a dispute over COOL that has been ongoing in the WTO for nearly six years. This is the third time Canada has prevailed in demonstrating that the US COOL law violates the WTO obligations of the United States.
"Since the beginning of this dispute we believed the US was not adhering to the agreed rules of trade and the latest report of the WTO panel confirms this again", said NCFA Chairman, Jeff Warrack. "Canada and the US are trading nations and each other's biggest customers so it is vital that both countries adhere to the rules of the game and unfortunately the US has not done so," added Warrack. COOL legislation has cost the Canadian hog and beef sectors well in excess of $1 billion. The effect of the law is to force US packers to segregate Canadian beef from US beef. This discriminatory treatment of Canadian cattle breaks the WTO rules. "This has been a long and arduous road and we are perplexed with the behavior of the US administration and its refusal to abandon COOL and bring the US into compliance with WTO trade law", stated Warrack.
Canada's frustration with US intransigence on this matter prompted the Minister of Finance to direct his department to publish in the Canada Gazette in June 2013, a list of proposed products on which Canada would impose WTO sanctioned retaliation against the United States. The retaliation would take the form of a 100% surtax on selected products. "It's regrettable that we were forced to move in this direction but we were left with no choice and we fully support the intention of the Canadian government to retaliate if the United States does not now abide by the WTO ruling by removing this discriminatory measure", said Warrack.
The retaliation in this instance would be sanctioned by the WTO because of the refusal by the United States to respect repeated WTO rulings on this matter. Pursuant to WTO requirements, the surtax would be applied only to products of United States origin leaving Canadian purchasers free to import the same products from other countries. The Canadian government would keep the retaliation in effect until the United States fully complied with the WTO ruling.
The NCFA was established in 2007 as the voice of Canadian cattle feeders, with a mission to promote: growth and sustainability, competitiveness, and industry leadership. Visit www.cattlefeeders.ca for more information.
SOURCE: National Cattle Feeders' Association
For further information: Jeff Warrack, Chairman, NCFA, 403-888-7124; Bryan D. Walton, General Manager, NCFA, 403-837-2232