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 Minister of International Trade, Stockwell Day, and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Gerry Ritz, announced the request for consultations as an important step in defending Canadian livestock producers.
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.
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.
Source: Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada