for November 23, 2011
Manitoba Pork Council is hopeful last week's WTO ruling on U.S. Country of Origin Labelling will lead to a restoration of the north south movement of weanling pigs and slaughter hogs.
Mandatory U.S. Country of Origin Labelling, implemented in 2008, requires a range of food products including fresh pork and beef to be identified at retail according to their country of origin forcing American processors to segregate domestic and imported livestock.
Last week a World Trade Organization panel investigating complaints from Canada and Mexico ruled the law affords imported livestock treatment less favorable than that accorded to like domestic livestock and is inconsistent with U.S. trade obligations.
Manitoba Pork Council Chair Karl Kynoch says the biggest concern on both sides of the border is the impact COOL has had on the flow of livestock south.
Clip-Karl Kynoch-Manitoba Pork Council:
When some of the packers had to go to this level of record keeping and implementation to be able to just buy Canadian product some of the packers chose not to buy any more product out of Canada anymore.
What that did was eliminate a lot of markets for our guys that were shipping slaughter hogs south and also weanlings so we virtually last 90 percent of the direct for slaughters and the weanling industry took a huge hit too where as the Canadian weanlings were being discounted to the American weanlings or there wasn't even a sale for them.
This kind of originated out of R-CALF, a group that was going after the beef, and the hog guys got caught up in it but we've had a lot of support from the U.S. hog guys.
They haven't believed in the law and a lot of those guys believe in free trade.
They like to see the free flow of pigs whether it be weanlings going south or the potential of hogs coming up to Manitoba to be processed here.
I would say American counterparts in the hog side have understood the issue.
Kynoch acknowledges the U.S. has 60 days to appeal but he hopes that won't happen.
He says relations between U.S. and Canadian pork producers have always been strong and, if anything, he expects the WTO ruling to lead to a restoration of supply agreements among Canadian and American producers.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork Council