Friday, December 11, 2015

Trudeau prefers to avoid COOL retaliation

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday he would prefer not to apply tariff sanctions against the United States over its trade-distorting Country of Origin Labelling regulations.

But he said he will take advantage of the World Trade Organization’s permission to apply tariffs of up to $1,055 billion on U.S. products if the Americans fail to get rid of the discrimination.

“We would rather not have to engage in retaliatory measures, but we certainly will, to stand up for our farmers, to stand up for Canadians who have been unfairly addressed and affected by this legislation,” Trudeau told reporters.

“We will continue to make sure that this gets fixed and we’re going to work with Americans, or against them, to make sure that it happens.”

The American politicians have been told that nothing short of scrapping the legislation will satisfy Canada’s beef and pork producers, but U.S. Secretary Tom Vilsack continues to talk about continuing COOL on a voluntary basis.

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange announced Thursday that it will not be taking any futures contracts on Canadian cattle and hogs, limiting contracts to animals born in the United States.

It said it’s taking that action because it’s not yet clear what the Senate will do. 

Congress has already passed a bill to repeal COOL legislation, but the Senate has yet to vote on a similar proposal from Senate Agriculture Committee chairman Pat Roberts, who is a Republican.

Former agriculture minister Gerry Ritz and now the Conservatives’ agriculture critic called for immediate retaliation with tariffs imposed on a long list of products developed by the former Harper administration.