Ottawa, ON – In a show of support, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) stood alongside Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Minister Gerry Ritz and International Trade Minister Ed Fast in Ottawa today as they announced that Canada is moving immediately to request authority from the World Trade Organization (WTO) to impose billions in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports, following the trade body’s historic final ruling against U.S. mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL).
The WTO’s Appellate Body yesterday issued a final ruling confirming that U.S. COOL discriminates against live imports of Canadian cattle and hogs. The ruling, the fourth and final from the WTO on COOL, effectively ends the eight-year legal battle first launched by the CCA in 2007 challenging the U.S. labeling law for violating the U.S.’s international trade obligations.
“I am extremely pleased that the Ministers have moved so quickly to put the U.S. on notice by seeking retaliation on the COOL measure,” said CCA President Dave Solverson. “I am hopeful that with a final ruling from the WTO affirming the Canadian beef industry’s right to fair market access firmly in hand, the U.S. Congress will finally repeal COOL on red meat.”
The CCA has spent $3.25 million fighting COOL since 2007 but Solverson said the cost to fight COOL is minor in comparison to the cost COOL has inflicted in the overall industry. “On behalf of the people who operate Canada’s 68,500 beef farms, I thank the Government of Canada for standing firm against the unfair discrimination of U.S. COOL and ensuring the U.S. meets its international trade obligations,” he said.
Solverson thanked the WTO Appellate Body for delivering a clear and decisive final ruling that leaves no doubt as to the unfair discriminatory nature of COOL and in fact reinforces the international trade body’s three earlier rulings that COOL violates the U.S.’s international trade obligations. The U.S. has now exhausted all of the appeal options available to it through the WTO.
While the legal battle in Geneva is over, the CCA will continue working with the Government of Canada to encourage the U.S. to adopt a genuine resolution. It is significant to note that the U.S. can no longer avoid or delay Canadian retaliation with another duplicitous tweak to COOL. If they attempt a further amendment that does not eliminate segregation of imported livestock, the CCA will strongly urge the Government of Canada to proceed swiftly with retaliation.
In 2013 the Government of Canada announced a list of commodities being targeted for potential retaliation in the amount of $1.1 billion. That figure was based on the annual impairment suffered to that point under the 2009 final COOL rule. The amount has grown following the May 23, 2013 COOL amendment – a path the U.S. chose to go down that actually increased the discrimination instead of genuinely fixing COOL.
For further information, contact:
Canadian Cattlemen’s Association
403-275-8558 x 306 | 403-875-3616