The vice president of Sunterra Foods is confident the U.S. will abandon Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling before Canada and Mexico are granted the authority to impose retaliatory tariffs on U.S. imports.
Last week the U.S. filed an appeal of the latest World Trade Organization ruling that Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling violates U.S. international trade obligations.
Ben Woolley, the vice president of Sunterra Foods, says with a Republican Congress coming into power he had expected the legislation to be punted down the road and he is confident it will be repealed before Canada and Mexico are granted authority to retaliate.
Ben Woolley-Sunterra Foods:
When you look at what the processors are looking at they're very very worried, not so much about the Canadian market but about losing the Mexican market.
The Mexican market is very important to them for a number of reasons.
They send a lot of hams to the Mexican market and a lot of other product like trim as well so any sort of disruption in that market would have a significant impact on their meat price.
Not only that but Mexico hasn't actually given them a list of what they're planning on retaliating against but for sure it's going to be a significant blow to their sales if it goes through and then there is retaliation.
I suspect this will get fixed before retaliation.
They'll go right up to the 11th hour and then it'll get repealed and we never will see the retaliation phase but they're certainly very worried that if it does go that far that it's going to cost them an awful lot of money.
And the Canadian market is not insignificant either with the amount of pork that they send here.
We've already given the list of items that we're going to retaliate against, things like wine from California and things like that.
Woolley expects the U.S. appeal to take two to three months and a final ruling to come out in late spring or early summer at which time there will be cause for retaliation.
He says it's very likely the U.S. will get rid of M-COOL sometime during the summer before that happens.