Canada has withdrawn its World Trade Organization complaint against the U.S. country-of-origin labeling program largely as a technical requirement since the complaint related only to the interim final rule.

While Canada's cattlemen say USDA's final rule on COOL is an improvement over the interim final rule, which has cost them some $90 per head since it began in October, it will take some time to determine how much of a recovery the new rule will allow them.

They hope that the final rule will allow Canadian producers more access to some U.S. slaughter facilities. "We don't think it's the full resolution," says John Masswohl, director of government and international relations for the Canadian Cattlmen's Association. He indicated that Canada's cattle producers will continue to push for their "full objective," which is to "eliminate discrimination against their livestock."

Canadian pork producers also are watching the issue and future developments. "Publication of the final rule may alleviate some of the market uncertainty that currently disrupts our U.S./Canada trade relationship," said Jurgen Preugchas, Canadian Pork Council president. "However, we will continue to assess the impact of COOL on Canadian producers."

For now, the final rule allows in a single production day the commingling of animals exported directly from Canada for slaughter and those of Canadian origin that are raised and fed in the United States.

Canada will have to file a new complaint with WTO if officials decide to challenge the final rule.