Ottawa – The United States was required to come into compliance with its World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations in relation to the WTO dispute on its country-of-origin labelling (COOL) regulations today, May 23. The US has not done so. The Canadian Pork Council considers that the USDA revised COOL rule which takes effect today, in fact, exacerbates discrimination against Canadian livestock exports and has denied much needed stability to Canadian hog producers.
“The new rule does nothing to reduce discrimination against Canadian feeder pigs and slaughter hogs,” stated Jean-Guy Vincent, Canadian Pork Council’s Chair. “The new rule will strip away any flexibility to comingle Canadian and US live swine at processing plants. This will make a very bad situation of the last four years much worse."
The WTO Appellate Body was clear that the discrimination caused by COOL stems from the fact that different requirements for recordkeeping and segregating beef cattle and live swine apply to beef cattle and hogs born in Canada. Beef cattle and hogs born or raised in the USA do not need to be segregated. As these labelling requirements are mandatory as required in the legislation, a legislative solution is needed, not tweaking regulations which avoid the real issues and permit discrimination to be continued and exacerbated.
“The US is gaming the system at our expense, their behaviour and the bad faith reflected by the new COOL rule is appalling. This existing measure has cost Canadian live swine and beef cattle producers more than a billion dollars annually. Canada needs to respond forcefully,” according to CPC’s Vice-Chair, Rick Bergmann. “Canadian producers have been going out of business by the hundreds. We cannot wait for another year or more while Washington continues to game the system,” he said.
“This is serious; it is not a game – livelihoods are at stake,” said CPC 2nd Vice-Chair, Bill Wymenga. “CPC urges the Government of Canada to publish a list of possible retaliation measures, to ensure that the US Administration and legislators who promote protection through regulation, realize that there are costs attached to their irresponsible actions which cause widespread damage to their neighbours and most important trading partners.”
The Canadian Pork Council is continuing to work with the Government of Canada and other allies to secure a proper legislative remedy to the devastating discrimination of US Mandatory Country of Origin Legislation.
The CPC serves as the national voice for hog producers in Canada. A federation of nine provincial pork industry associations, our organization’s purpose is to play a leadership role in achieving and maintaining a dynamic and prosperous Canadian pork sector.