Thursday, 23 May 2013 15:11

Beef producers in Alta and Sask. frustrated with U.S. action on COOL

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Cattle producers in Alberta and Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) are deeply disappointed that the United States has failed to comply with the World Trade Organization's (WTO) deadline to bring the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) requirements into compliance with international obligations and eliminate the discrimination against imported livestock.

 

Today (May 23) was the deadline set by the WTO and this morning, the USDA published a regulatory change that actually increases the discriminatory impact of COOL instead of eliminating it.
 
“The rationale that this amendment complies with the ruling is completely unrealistic and will only increase costs leaving Canadian producers to carry the burden,” said ABP Chair Doug Sawyer.
 
The WTO ruled last summer that COOL is in violation of WTO rules because the requirement that meat produced in the U.S. from imported livestock bear a different label from meat produced from U.S.-born livestock causes segregation, with additional handling costs inflicted disproportionately on imported livestock. This discrimination is costing Canadian cattle producers approximately $25 to $40 per head totaling around $640 million per year. These losses have been incurred since COOL was implemented in late 2008 and continue to this day. The CCA estimates that this amendment will increase the impact of COOL to about $90 to $100 per head.
 
“This is an enormous cost increase for our industry and it is very frustrating that the U.S. is not showing any intention of complying with the WTO ruling,” said ABP Executive Director Rich Smith.
 
ABP is joining the Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) and provincial cattle associations across the country in calling on the Government of Canada to respond to this action by fully pursuing its rights a the WTO as soon as possible. We are also requesting that the Government of Canada publish a list of retaliatory options to be imposed on the U.S. should they continue to ignore their international obligations and flaunt the WTO ruling. ABP will continue to support the CCA actions to end the discrimination caused by COOL.
 
“We will continue to fight COOL until a resolution that genuinely eliminates the discrimination is achieved,” said CCA President Martin Unrau in a statement released today. The CCA has so far spent in excess of $2 million in legal and advocacy expenses to fight COOL.

Saskatchewan producers are also angry.

The recent actions by the USDA in response to the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling on U.S.  mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) requirements are completely unacceptable, says Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association chair Mark Elford.

“The current COOL requirements cost Canadian cattle producers up to $40 per head, or more than $650
million per year. Recent amendments will raise that cost to nearly $100 per head, causing even more
costs to our cattle producers,” says Elford.
 
More than $2 million of beef check-off funding has been spent so far to fight COOL at the WTO and in
Washington. The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and all the provincial cattle associations vow to
continue the fight until this economic discrimination by the U.S. stops.
 
The SCA calls on the Government of Canada to take immediate action in response to the failure of the U.S. government to comply with international trade law.
 
“We are requesting that the Government of Canada publish a list of retaliation options that could be
imposed on the U.S. immediately, to put pressure on elected officials in the U.S. and get this trade issue
resolved,” says Elford.

 

Read 10561 times Last modified on Thursday, 23 May 2013 15:18

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