Following his notification meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Canada's International Trade Minister Stockwell Day announced that Canada is filing a World Trade Organization complaint over Country-of-Origin-Labeling on Canadian meat products exported to the United States. Day said Canada is objecting to provisions it considers damaging to Canada's agriculture industry.
The dispute revolves around labeling regulations that require U.S. producers to indicate the country of origin of food including cuts of beef, poultry, lamb, chicken and pork, plus fruits, vegetables and some nuts. Day said, when the regulations were first announced, they were flexible and seemed to address Canadian concerns. But that changed when Ag Secretary Vilsack asked meat packers to voluntarily comply with even stricter COOL rules detailing where an animal was born, raised and slaughtered.
Day says, Canada has asked the Obama administration to clarify its position because Vilsack's request is causing uncertainty among Canadian farmers whose business has already declined amid the implementation of country-of-origin labeling. According to USDA, Canadian pork exports to the U.S. have dropped by more than 40% this year.