Wednesday, December 16, 2015

COOL to be scrapped

The United States Senate has finally introduced legislation to scrap Country of Origin labeling for meat from imported cattle and hogs.

The labeling law was ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization – twice.

The first time the Americans responded with a “fix” that Canadians, Mexicans and meat packers in the United States said was even worse than the original.

It took another few years and millions in legal and consulting fees to challenge that “fix”.

The U.S. politicians only relented when they faced about $1 billion in punitive tariffs the World Trade Organization said Mexico and Canada could impose.

The Canadian agriculture and trade ministers have scheduled a news conference today.

The CBC is reporting that it’s the end of COOL, but the legislation has yet to pass.

Canadian farmers hired economists to calculate the damage and they say it's more than $1 billion a year. It went on so long that it knocked down both hog and beef production in the highly-competitive North American market.

Most of the damage resulted from lower prices for Canadian cattle and hogs because American packers discounted imports because they faced higher processing costs to keep the imported meat separate for accurate labelling. That, in turn, meant Canadian packers lowered their bid prices, knowing it was  unlikely farmers would export to their U.S. competitors.