Calgary, AB – Over the weekend, the United States (U.S.) Congress passed its annual appropriations legislation that funds the U.S. government for the remainder of the fiscal year. In the portion of that legislation that funds the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Congress included the following instruction:
"Within 15 days of final resolution, including all pending appeals, or May 1, 2015, whichever comes first, the Secretary of Agriculture, in consultation with the U.S. Trade Representative, shall submit to the Committees and the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate a report that contains the Secretary's recommendations for any changes in Federal law that would be required for the establishment and implementation of a country of origin labeling program with respect to beef, pork, and poultry that does not conflict with, or is in any manner inconsistent with, the trade obligations of the United States, taking into account the findings contained in the report of the compliance panel established by the Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) for purposes of the WTO disputes "United States Certain Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) Requirements (DS384 and DS386)", including the available results of all pending appeals."
The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) view is that although it is encouraging that some members of Congress recognize the need to take action, the lengthy timeline they have established is disappointing. The Congressional instruction will in no way affect the CCA’s pursuit of a final ruling at the WTO that the U.S. remains in violation of its international trade obligations. The CCA will continue to work with the Government of Canada towards that outcome.
U.S. exporters to Canada should remain concerned as Congress is flirting dangerously close to the timeline for the WTO to authorize Canada and Mexico to implement retaliatory tariffs. The decision of the U.S. congress to kick the can down the road rather than fixing COOL once and for all leaves U.S. exporters vulnerable to the inevitable uncertainty created by the threat of retaliation.
For further information, contact:
Canadian Cattlemen’s Association
403-275-8558 x 306 | 403-875-3616