Farmscape for August 8, 2007 (Episode 2558)
A newly formed coalition of Canadian cattle and hog producers is urging Ottawa to help address concerns related to proposed mandatory U.S. country of origin labelling legislation.
Originally proposed in the 2002 U.S. farm bill, mandatory country of origin labelling has been repeatedly delayed but now it appears the provision will be implemented in September 2008.
CLiP COOL, Canadian Livestock Producers Opposed to COOL, a coalition involving the Canadian Cattlemen's Association and the Canadian Pork Council, is calling for country of origin labelling provisions that conform to international trade agreements.
Canadian Pork Council President Clare Schlegel says the mandatory requirement to track animals will discriminate against hog and cattle producers in Canada creating a trade barrier.
Clip-Clare Schlegel-Canadian Pork Council
We really are calling on the Canadian government, because this is a government to government negotiation, but calling on the Canadian government to bring this rather aggressively before the U.S. government and ask the U.S. government to live up to its trade obligations both under NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and under WTO (World Trade Organization).
We've had lawyers reviewing the trade agreements and there's three or four different areas where this clearly contradicts what the U.S. government has agreed to.
One area, as an example, is substantial transformation so that when an animal moves to the U.S. and then is processed it clearly becomes the product of the United States.
The principle behind that is that, in all of our markets, we're not to give advantages to the domestic production over imported production.
Rules that apply to imported production need to also apply to domestic production.
Schlegel notes the burden of tracking animals will fall on the producer resulting in additional costs.
He says repeal of the mandatory COOL provision would be most ideal but, failing that, it needs to be applied in a way that does not discriminate against Canadian product.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork Council