Canada's Meat Processing Industry Expects U.S. Conformity Following WTO COOL Decision

Ottawa, Ont.- Canada’s meat processing industry expects the United States to modify its current requirements following a June 29 decision by the World Trade Organization Appellate Body on the Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) measures the U.S. imposes on meat products. In today’s announcement, the Appellate Body confirmed the portion of a November 18, 2011 determination by a WTO Dispute Settlement Panel that found U.S. requirements discriminate against live cattle and hogs imported into the U.S. from Canada and are inconsistent with international trade obligations.

Canadian Meat Council President Ray Price and Executive Director James Laws accompanied Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Gerry Ritz and International Trade Parliamentary Secretary Gerald Keddy as well as Canadian cattle and swine producers at the Bryan and Tracy Willms farm near Saskatoon to discuss the WTO decision.

“The Canadian and U.S. beef and pork production and processing sectors are critical components of an integrated North American red meat industry that provides a broad selection of high quality, safe and nutritious food products to consumers both at home and in other countries. The imposition of bureaucratic, costly and unnecessary obstacles that make no contribution to food safety and are of little or no benefit to consumers jeopardizes North American competitiveness in the global marketplace and weakens economic growth, investment and job opportunities on farms and in meat processing facilities across Canada and the United States. Now that the WTO Appellate Body has announced its decision, we expect the United States to quickly bring its meat labelling regulations and practices into full conformity with international obligations” said Price.

“The Canadian Meat Council wishes also to acknowledge the strong and public opposition of our counterparts at the American Meat Institute to U.S. requirements that are inconsistent with international obligations. AMI member companies process 95 percent of U.S. beef, pork, lamb, and veal products and the Canadian Meat Council welcomes their formal recognition that equitable enforcement of international trade rules by all countries is critical to maintaining access to overseas markets for  North American meat products” added Laws.

“We wish to recognize and congratulate Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Gerry Ritz and Minister of International Trade Ed Fast as well as officials for their unflagging commitment and perseverance in developing and presenting the Canadian perspective in bilateral discussions with their U.S. counterparts and at the World Trade Organization. The arguments that they advanced in both the bilateral and multilateral fora were fully consistent with and supportive of the shared objective announced on February 4, 2011 by Prime Minister Harper and President Obama of removing unnecessary regulatory requirements that add costs for manufacturers and for consumers” concluded Price.  

Canada’s meat processing industry includes some 400 federally registered establishments, providing not only safe, high quality protein for Canadian consumers, but also adding jobs and making a significant contribution to local economic activity in both rural and urban Canada. With approximately 67,500 employees and annual sales exceeding $ 21.3 billion, the industry is the largest segment of Canada’s food processing sector. Canada exports $1.3 billion of beef and over $3.2 billion of pork to over 120 different countries around the world. The Canadian Meat Council has represented Canada’s federally inspected meat processing industry since 1919.

Source: Canadian Meat Council