U.S. trade policy draws ire and discussion from North American officials at events across continent
American and Canadian livestock groups launched an appeal Sept. 24 against a Sept. 11 U.S. District Court decision that failed to block implementation of country-of-origin labelling.
Nine groups, which include the Canadian Pork Council, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and their powerful counterpart organizations in the U.S., argue that the court incorrectly accepted various arguments it heard from the Agricultural Marketing Service in the case heard in early September.
The American Meat Council, one of the nine members of a coalition involved in the appeal, said COOL violates the U.S. constitution “by compelling speech in the form of costly and detailed labels on meat products that do not directly advance a substantial government interest.”
COOL was also a topic for discussion two weeks ago at the Council of State Governments national conference in Kansas City, Missouri.
Alberta Agriculture minister Verlyn Olson, who attended the conference, said Sept. 26 that the council took a strong stance against mandatory COOL legislation.
“The Council of State Governments overwhelmingly passed a resolution that acknowledges the negative economic impact and calls on Congress to find a fair solution to the issue,” Olson said in a conference call.
He said it was the fifth resolution of its kind within the last four months that was passed by U.S. government officials at various levels asking for changes to COOL.
The matter was also discussed at the recent Tri-National Agricultural Accord meeting in Saskatoon, said Olson.
Mexican officials have strong views similar to those of Canada about the U.S. legislation.
However, Americans at that meeting were circumspect.
“We’re also somewhat disappointed that our colleagues, the U.S. legislators who were at the Saskatoon conference, felt as though they could not commit to a strong statement calling for changes to COOL although they did commit to continuing with discussion to try to find a solution,” said Olson.
“We would have liked to have seen a stronger stance taken by them.”