Itís not COOL(Country of Origin Labelling)
WTO appeal panel tells U.S. to stuff its unfair meat labelling tactics
By James Pascual
Canadian livestock producers are pleased with the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling that a U.S. meat labelling program has unfairly discriminated against Mexico and Canada. But no oneís holding his breath for a rise in exports in the short-term.
The WTO upheld a 2011 decision that said U.S. country-of-origin labelling rules, commonly known as COOL, were wrong because they created unfair and onerous labelling, tracking and packing rules for beef and pork imported from Mexico and Canada.
The United States cannot appeal the June 29 decision but could have up to 15 months to comply. COOL has already had a huge effect on trade as it has been in effect for four years.
Canadian agriculture minister Gerry Ritz had called COOL a lose-lose proposition for both countries and said that within one year of the COOL law, Canadian feeder cattle exports to the United States had dropped by nearly half.
The Fraser Institute, a Vancouver-based fiscally-conservative think tank, last month had called the mandatory U.S. labelling program "an attack on free trade in a sector that has for years been deeply integrated."
The Fraser Institute agreed that COOL was lose-lose as it increased meat prices for consumers on both sides of the border.
The COOL regulations meant that any meat products that started out in Canada or went to Canada for processing and then was sent to the United States had to be labelled to show that they were products of Canada or were processed in Canada. This meant that U.S. companies had to create a duplicate processing section to keep Canadian livestock and meat products, including separate slaughter facilities. That was an exorbitant extra cost of keeping Canadian cattle by as much as $45.50 to $59 per head, reported Informa Economics. The extra cost for hogs was $6.90 to $8.50 per head.