Farmscape for October 28, 2014
Canada's minister of agriculture remains hopeful the prospects of retaliatory tariffs on imported U.S. products will prompt the United States to address Canadian and Mexican concerns over Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling.
In a ruling released last week, the World Trade Organization found changes to Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling, introduced in 2013 failed to bring the U.S. into compliance with its world trade obligations opening the door for Canada and Mexico to apply to impose retaliatory tariffs on imported U.S. products.
Federal agriculture minister Gerry Ritz says it's now up to the U.S. to decide its next steps.
Clip-Gerry Ritz-Canada Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food:
The easiest way to address it would be repeal of Country of Origin Labelling.
We're not looking for some sort of band aide solution to this.
Full repeal would allow us to move forward, would allow the industry to rebuild the integration that's always been a strength.
We're hopeful that that's the type of thing the U.S. administration will actually look forward to.
Having said that we've already let them know that there is a list up there of materials that we'll retaliate on coming north from the United States.
It's a very definitive list but certainly we can add to that or subtract to it depending on what type of political leverage we will need to make sure the U.S. understands the hurt that they're causing our industry as well as their own.
It's well documented now.
Three major processing facilities have closed, Tyson's is no longer buying Canadian product.
There's two or three other processing facilities down in the U.S. that are saying they're close because they don't have the volume of animals they need, some 50 percent less than they were used to.
The unfortunate part is we're looking at the mid-term elections coming up less than a month from now.
We're also looking at what they call the lame duck session so in order to get this type of comprehensive piece through it's going to take that leverage of a retaliatory list to make sure that state by state they understand that this is a cause for great concern in Canada and Mexico.
The U.S. has one final window of opportunity to appeal.
Ritz says since this is a political process, not a practical pragmatic solution, an appeal is likely.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork Council