Canada's Trade Minister Stockwell Day has confirmed that Canada will re-file a complaint regarding the U.S. country-of-origin labeling law with the World Trade Organization.
"I've informed Ambassador [Ronald] Kirk that we will move forward with the [WTO] consultation," Reuters quoted Day as saying after an official meeting between the two government trade officials.
Canadian officials contend that the U.S. country-of-origin rules that became effective in mid-March are hurting Canada's pork and beef industries. Day specifically referred to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack's letter sent to meat processors in February, asking them to go beyond the law in their labeling practices.
"They've left a whole lot of questions under something called 'voluntary compliance'," Day said on a Canadian television show this week. "The rules are so unclear that production facilities in the United States are actually starting to turn back Canadian products, saying it's just too confusing to try and meet these labeling provisions."
Personnel from U.S. Trade Representative's office met with Day and other Canadian representatives to discuss country-of-origin labeling, among other topics. While the sides continue "a high-level engagement to resolve these issues," Day was quoted saying, there remains broad gaps in reaching a solution any time soon.