Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ritz fumes over yet another U.S. delay on COOL

Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz is fuming over the latest United States move on its illegal Country of Origin Labeling regulations.

Soon after Canada and Mexico filed a request with the World Trade Organization for permission to impose duties to punish the Americans, the U.S. filed for arbitration over the tariffs that Canada and Mexico want to apply.

Ritz said it's just another stalling tactic.

The U.S. lost an initial World Trade Organization ruling on COOL, appealed that ruling and lost, then changed its regulations which prompted another complaint by Canada and Mexico, another ruling against the U.S. which it again appealed and lost.

After four kicks at the can over the last seven years, the Americans have yet to scrap COOL regulations against cattle and hogs. And they indicate they will treat sheep as outside the World Trade Organization rulings and maintain COOL for sheep.

Ritz said COOL is costing Canadian farmers more than $3 billion a year. American packers pay less for Canadian livestock to cover additional costs to slaughter and process Canadian livestock and meat so it can be accurately labeled for retail sale.

Because the Americans pay less, cattle and hogs back up in Canada, depressing prices here to a level equal to, or slightly higher, than the Americans are willing to bid.