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Focusing On COOL Next Steps

22 December 2011

CANADA - The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association’s (CCA) work continues on the country of origin labelling (COOL) file, following the November 18 ruling from the World Trade Organization (WTO) supporting Canada’s position that provisions of COOL discriminate against live cattle and hogs imported into the US from Canada to the detriment of Canadian cattle producers.

The US has until early in 2012 to appeal the WTO ruling on COOL and the CCA is working with industry organisations in the US towards achieving a US decision not to appeal the ruling and to move toward a resolution.

"We were in Washington at the end of November working towards that objective. The mission was the latest in a long line of excursions the CCA has undertaken to Washington and throughout the US in the past several months in anticipation of the WTO panel report," says the organisation.

"Our complaint has always been about the discrimination in the US livestock marketplace that COOL causes and not the requirement to label meat imported into the US with origin to inform consumers. The resolution we are seeking eliminates the need for segregation of imported livestock and meat during US processing. This resolution would require a surgical amendment only and not a complete repeal of COOL."

The cattlemen's approach for a resolution would enable the US to meet its stated objective of providing US consumers with origin information, but in a more meaningful and accurate manner than the current requirements. The resolution would require a legislative amendment by the US Congress.

There are different options that could eliminate the COOL discrimination on Canadian livestock in the US. One option is that any beef and pork from cattle and hogs slaughtered in the US bear a US origin label, with specific allowance for the voluntary inclusion of additional information on the country of birth and/or feeding of source animals.

"We are coordinated with the Canadian pork producers on this objective. Another option would be to permit voluntary labelling of beef and pork produced from animals slaughtered in the US while maintaining the mandatory requirement on meat (not livestock) that is imported and not further processed in the US.

"We cannot accept an outcome that places a so-called ‘residency requirement’ on Canadian cattle prior to slaughter in the US. Since approximately two-thirds to three-quarters of our live cattle exports are for immediate slaughter, a residency requirement would do little to improve the situation for Canadian cattle producers.

"Depending on the timeframe to achieve a legislative revision, we may also want to explore whether any transitional regulatory accommodations can be made to ameliorate the COOL burden in the interim."

TheCattleSite News Desk



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