By Bruce Cochrane
Despite the latest U.S. effort to preserve Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling Manitoba Pork remains hopeful the issue can be resolved without the need for Canada and Mexico to impose retaliatory tariffs on imported U.S. products.
In October the World Trade Organization compliance panel determined changes to U.S. Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling in May 2013 failed to bring the law into compliance with U.S. international trade obligations and on Friday the U.S. announced it will appeal that ruling.
In the event this final appeal is rejected Canada and Mexico will have the authority to apply to impose retaliatory tariffs on U.S. imports.
Manitoba Pork general manager Andrew Dickson says the U.S. Congress must now deal with this and he is hopeful someone in the U.S. will take the lead.
Andrew Dickson-Manitoba Pork:
It's early days yet to talk about retaliation.
The concept is there'll be a wide variety of products that will have import taxes applied to them.
We have to get permission from the WTO to be able to do that and the size of the import taxes has to be commensurate with the hurt that's been experienced by producers in Canada and so that'll take some time to establish the exact numbers but it will be disruptive for the trade between Canada and the United States.
We're their largest trading partner and the volume of business is phenomenal that goes across the border every day and this has finally got the attention of things like the American Chambers of Commerce.
People now realize this issue on meat labelling is going to have consequences for the rest of the U.S. economy.
Hopefully sound minds will come to bear on this.
The secretary of agriculture in the United States has already indicated that he can't do anything in terms of changing the regulation.
He has no authority to be able do that and he is reliant on Congress providing the lead on terms of bringing the regulation into compliance with the WTO process.
Dickson insists it's in everyone's best interest that this get resolved without the need for retaliatory tariffs.