Canadians Ready with WTO Challenge

Trade ministers change their minds on pursuing retaliation.

Canada's International Trade Minister has changed his opinion and is now suggesting that Canada's patience with Washington is running thin over the U.S. meat-labeling law. Stockwell Day says that law is dissuading the purchase of Canadian-bred livestock and killing their sector. He has pledged to be aggressive in defending Canada's interest. One week earlier, Day said he would reserve judgment on pursuing retaliation against the U.S. government through World Trade Organization channels.

Day is joined in his criticism by Gerry Ritz, Canada's federal Minister of Agriculture. "A WTO challenge is ready to go should conditions not change," Ritz said. "There is a frustration with the U.S. with the way things are going. This is not good for the free-flow of goods across markets."

Canadian livestock producers say, because of the mandatory COOL law, a limited number of U.S. plants will take their product, and only on certain days, because the majority of packers can't be bothered to segregate the Canadian livestock and prepare different labels. Further, it has created a glut of supply on the domestic market and, subsequently, lowered the price producers receive.

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