Canada Not Backing Down on COOL

Following the release of USDA's final new rule for meat labeling - Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said Canada will examine all of its options - including appeals or retaliatory measures. He told reporters his country has no intention of backing off or backing down - noting that industry groups in Canada and the U.S. oppose the labeling provision. The National Pork Producers Council is one of the American industry groups opposed to the rule. In comments submitted to USDA in April - NPPC raised concerns that the proposed new Country-of-Origin Labeling rule would not comply with a World Trade Organization panel ruling that MCOOL violates U.S. trade obligations under the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade. The WTO has not specified a date by which it will make a determination on the new U.S. meat labeling rule - but if the new rule falls short - NPPC notes the U.S. risks retaliation from Canada and Mexico. Those countries were the second and fourth largest export markets by value for U.S. pork in 2012 - with exports totaling 1.13-billion and 856-million dollars respectively.

NPPC believes a solution can be found that satisfies U.S. WTO obligations, provides sufficient label information to consumers and doesn't cause economic disruptions in the pork industry.

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