U.S. asks for arbitration on COOL damages

The United States has decided to ask the world trade organization for arbitration over the amount of damages Canada claims has been caused by mandatory country or origin labelling.

Canada asked the WTO to impose retaliatory tariffs of more than $3 billion annually on key U.S. exports due to damages caused by COOL.

“Canada is disappointed that the U.S. is attempting to prolong the WTO process by requesting arbitration,” said agriculture minister Gerry Ritz in a statement June 17.

“The U.S. is out of options and retaliation cannot be avoided by drawing out this process.”

Canada estimated damages to the hog and cattle sector to be more than $3 billion and the chief economist for the U.S. department of agriculture said it cost the American industry about $2.6 billion(US).

Canada continues to demand a repeal of the law. If the House of Representatives and Senate agree it could be repealed by summer and avoid high tariffs on a variety of products that includes live animals, red meat, produce and manufactured goods.

In addition the Canadian sheep industry is pushing for the entire law to be abandoned because it has also affected lamb exports. Producers are encouraged to write their members of Parliament to push for a full repeal of the law.

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