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Canada to Consult WTO on COOL Regulations

CANADA - The Government of Canada is seeking formal consultations with the United States under the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement process on country-of-origin labelling (COOL) measures.

The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade, and the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, today announced the request for consultations as an important step in defending Canadian livestock producers.

“While Canada is firmly committed to a cooperative trading relationship, we believe that the country-of-origin legislation is creating undue trade restrictions to the detriment of Canadian exporters,” said Minister Day. “Under these circumstances, Canada has no choice but to assert its WTO rights in the defence of our exporters.”


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"Under these circumstances, Canada has no choice but to assert its WTO rights"
Honourable Stockwell Day

“This government continues to take a strong stand for Canadian producers on the issue of country-of-origin legislation,” said Minister Ritz. “We are committed to a respectful working relationship with our American neighbours, but have always made it clear that these new regulations must not discriminate against Canadian producers. This consultation is a formal opportunity for us to work with the U.S. to resolve this issue, as well as a strong signal that we will stand up for Canadian producers and exert our rights if necessary.”

The decision to request consultations follows discussions and representations to the United States on Canada’s concerns with COOL. WTO consultations provide the parties with an opportunity to resolve a dispute through formal discussions. If consultations fail to resolve the issue, the matter can be referred to a WTO dispute settlement panel.

Minister Ritz also announced that a government-industry working group is monitoring the implementation of COOL to collect information on its economic impact on Canadian livestock and meat industries. Canadian producers have already indicated that COOL is having a negative impact on livestock and meat exports.

Since implementation of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement and its successor, the North American Free Trade Agreement, trade between Canada and the U.S. has tripled. Moreover, the U.S. and Canada are each other’s largest agricultural trading partners; in 2007, bilateral agricultural trade totalled $32.3 billion. Reducing obstacles to trade has contributed to mutually beneficial supply chains, making both countries more competitive domestically and internationally.

the Fish Site Editor

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