CCA statement on establishment of WTO compliance panel for U.S. COOL

Calgary, AB – The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) is pleased that the World Trade Organization (WTO) has granted the Government of Canada’s request to establish a compliance panel in the U.S. mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) dispute.

The request was granted yesterday in Geneva at the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) meeting and the compliance panel was established. The panel will likely be comprised of the same panelists whose finding that COOL discriminates against Canadian live cattle and hogs was affirmed by the WTO Appellate Body in 2012.

The CCA applauds the efforts of International Trade Minister Ed Fast, Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Gerry Ritz and Prime Minister Stephen Harper in reaching this juncture. The CCA will continue to work with the Government of Canada to aggressively challenge COOL’s discriminatory trade practices at the WTO.

The compliance panel will determine whether the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s May 23 amendment to the COOL regulation complies with the U.S.'s WTO obligations. The Government of Canada and the CCA share the position that the U.S. amendment falls short of compliance and in fact increases the discrimination against imported cattle and hogs in the U.S. marketplace. The compliance process, which includes the right of either party to appeal the panel’s determination to the Appellate Body, is expected to take until late 2014.

In June, the Government of Canada released a list of U.S. commodities that could be targeted for retaliation in relation to the COOL dispute. The Government of Canada has said it could seek retaliatory compensation of approximately $1.1 billion following the completion of ongoing WTO proceedings