Despite a change in the political party leading the nation, indications are that Canada will move forward with retaliation against the United States over its Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) law.
Justin Trudeau, head of Canada’s Liberal Party, this week defeated Prime Minister Stephen Harper of the Conservative Party after a heated election.
COOL requires meat to be labeled with the country where the animal from which it was derived was born, raised and harvested. (It also applies to fish, shellfish, fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables and certain nuts.) The World Trade Organization has ruled that the law violates the international trade obligations of the United States, discriminating against Canadian and Mexican animals that are sent to the United States to be fed out and processed.
The WTO has authorized Canada and Mexico to place retaliatory tariffs on a host of U.S. goods, and a WTO arbitration panel now is determining the level of retaliation; Canada and Mexico have asked for a combined $3.1 billion. That decision is expected to be issued Dec. 7.
In response to a pre-election questionnaire from the Canadian cattlemen’s organization, Trudeau indicated that, if elected, he would continue to pursue retaliation against the United States over the COOL law.
The National Pork Producers Council, which opposed COOL when it was being debated in Congress as part of the 2002 and 2008 farm bills, is urging Congress to repeal the labeling provisions for pork and beef. The House passed a repeal bill in June, but the Senate has yet to take up a similar measure.