CCA Fears Country of Origin Labelling Could Become Non-Tariff Trade Barrier

CANADA - The Canadian Cattlemen's Association warns proposed mandatory U.S. Country of Origin Labelling legislation could become a non-tariff trade barrier, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 10 August 2007
clock icon 2 minute read

Originally proposed in the 2002 U.S. farm bill, it now appears mandatory Country of Origin Labelling will come into effect in September 2008.

The Canadian Cattlemen's Association and the Canadian Pork Council have joined forces to lobby for repeal of the legislation or substantial change to make it conform to international trade agreements.

CCA president Hugh Lynch-Staunton says, if the definitions are too stringent, Canadian producers might be denied access to some segments of the U.S. market.

Hugh Lynch-Staunton-Canadian Cattlemen's Association

The definitions can be problematic.

They needn't be but they could be and really the questions is whether the rules that come out are commercially friendly or not.

The difficulty we have right now is that, even though there was an agreement and it's attached to the farm bill the farm bill, the details still aren't known.

We understand there's still a lot of room for change on it and we hope that we can get positive input to it.

One of the things that the pork producers and ourselves have asked very strongly is for the government of Canada to take a bit more aggressive role in this.

The current bill that's supposed to be enacted in 2008 does have some provisions that we believe is a violation of our NAFTA trade agreements and WTO and we want our government to make it very clear to the legislators in the United States that our country is willing to stand up for our contractual agreements.

Lynch-Staunton says Canadian livestock producers are proud of their product and have no problem identifying it but, there is potential the labelling regulations could prompt some in the U.S. to avoid using that product or to use it at a discount.

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