Geneva (May 3, 2012)The WTO Appelate Body has completed its hearing on the United States appeal of it loss of the WTO dispute panel on its Country of Origin Labeling regime (COOL) as it applies to imported livestock, specifically Canadian hogs and beef cattle.
“The Canadian Pork Council and its members, together with the Government of Canada and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, have been contesting mandatory COOL since its inclusion in the 2002 U.S. Farm Bill”, said Jean-Guy Vincent, CPC Chair, “and we are very pleased with how Canada’s dispute with COOL has been argued at the WTO – first before the Panel and now in front of the Appellate Body.”
“The Government of Canada team has very effectively argued that the (COOL) law is a protectionist measure”, said Jurgen Preugschas, a pork producer from Mayerthorpe, Alberta. “Despite claims by the United States that COOL was a response to requests from consumers, the legislation was in fact a result of lobbying by a splinter group of U.S. livestock farmers whose intent was to restrict imports from Canada.”
In addition to Mr. Preugschas, the Canadian hog industry was represented in Geneva by Martin Rice, CPC’s executive director; Andrew Dickson, General Manager of Manitoba Pork Council; and Peter Clark, CPC’s international trade counsel. The CPC Team also coordinated closely with Jim Laws, Executive Director of the Canadian Meat Council. Jim’s valuable knowledge and insights were greatly appreciated.
Mr. Dickson noted “Canada has effectively argued that the COOL labeling requirements have seriously harmed and continue to harm Canadian exports of cattle and hogs to the United States. The COOL measure has been devastating to Manitoba hog producers. COOL has been particularly devastating to Manitoba hog farmers, many of whom have had to cease or significantly curtail their operations.”
“The Canadian legal team and their colleagues from DFAIT and Agriculture Canada were impressive and effective in their efforts to turn back the U.S. challenge” said Mr. Preugschas. “A positive result is needed by all Canadian hog producers whether they are selling feeder pigs or slaughter hogs – the U.S. market has been skewed for far too long to our disadvantage.”
“We look forward to working with our counterparts in the U.S. on a legislated return to normalcy”, he added.
Peter Clark explained, “The formal meetings are over – and Canada’s summation was concise but complete and compelling. The Appellate Body will now consider the record evidence and arguments to reach its conclusion which we expect towards the end of June.“
He went on to note that in dealing with the COOL appeal the Appelate Body will almost certainly clarify rules which will be important with respect to COOL and to properly disciplining the proliferation of technical measures around the world.
The CPC serves as the national voice for hog producers in Canada. A federation of nine provincial pork industry associations, our organization’s purpose is to play a leadership role in achieving and maintaining a dynamic and prosperous Canadian pork sector.
For more information, contact:
Public Relations Manger
Canadian Pork Council
613-236-9239 Ext. 277
Grey, Clark, Shih and Associates, Limited