Canada’s ag ministry on Thursday asked the World Trade Organization for authorization to complete $3 billion in retaliatory measures on grounds that the U.S. Country-of-Origin Labeling requirement harms trade. Canada’s request will be considered by the WTO Dispute Settlement Body on June 17, 2015, Canada’s International Trade and Agriculture and Agri-Food offices said.
The request comes as the WTO on May 18 ruled that the COOL rule was noncompliant with WTO trade rules. Canada asserts the rule, which requires that certain products be labeled with the country where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered, discriminate against the country’s own cattle and hogs.
“Despite the WTO’s final ruling that U.S. country of origin labelling measures are discriminatory, the United States continues to avoid its international trade obligations,” Canadian Minister of International Trade Ed Fast said in a statement.
Chip Bowling, Maryland farmer and president of the National Corn Growers Association, in response to the announcement, “Ag trade is a vital part of the U.S. economy. Retaliation by Canada will have a significant impact on American farmers and ranchers, threatening rural economies as well as our relationship with one of America’s greatest allies and trading partners. We urge Congress to quickly pass legislation to ensure the United States is in compliance with World Trade Organization obligations in regards to country-of-origin labeling.”
If Canada is granted authority to retaliate, a wide range of products including cattle and pork, dairy and produce products, even domestic products like furniture, could be affected.