On July 30, Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart re-iterated the importance of the U.S. Senate’s outright repeal of Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) for beef and pork.
“Frankly, this issue has been dragging on for far too long,” Stewart said. “The expense and loss for our cattle and hog producers has been significant. The U.S. has had more than enough time to do the right thing and fully repeal COOL for beef and pork. If COOL isn’t fully repealed for beef and pork, we will get to the point where retaliation is inevitable. While the costs for both Canada and the U.S. will be enormous, the U.S. must comply with their trade obligations.”
The World Trade Organization (WTO) originally ruled in 2012 that COOL was discriminatory to Canadian hog and beef exports. A final ruling by the WTO in May, 2015 reaffirmed that the U.S. COOL measure is inconsistent with international trade commitments.
On June 10, 2015 the U.S. House passed a bill that would allow for the outright repeal of COOL for beef and pork while avoiding retaliation. How-ever, a new Bill calling for voluntary labelling has stalled efforts to get the Bill passed in the Senate.
“The proposed solution of voluntary labelling as introduced by Senator Stabenow will not solve the problem,” Stewart said. “This proposal is nothing more than COOL re-worded and will continue to result in discrimination towards Canadian cattle and hogs.
“Saskatchewan will continue to stand alongside the federal government in its efforts to re-solve COOL, including the implementation of $3 billion in annual retaliation if necessary.
“The federal government has been persistent in its efforts to get COOL repealed for beef and pork, and we thank them for their work,” Stewart added.
Since COOL was introduced in 2008, Canada’s industry has estimated damages to be in the billions due to price declines, lost sales and added costs.