The World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body has completed its hearing on the United States’ appeal of its loss of the WTO dispute panel on its Country-of-Origin-Labeling law (COOL) as it applies to imported Canadian hogs and beef cattle, according to the Canadian Pork Council (CPC). “The CPC 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.
“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 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, director of the Canadian Meat Council.
“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,” Dickson noted. “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 Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Agriculture Canada were impressive and effective in their efforts to turn back the U.S. challenge” Preugschas said. “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 toward the end of June.“