OTTAWA – The controversial U-S meat labelling law known as COOL (Country of Origin Labelling) has been scrapped by the U-S Congress, averting a potential trade war between Canada and the U-S.
Earlier this year, the World Trade Organization ruled the legislation violated international trade rules, and granted Canada and Mexico the right to impose one-billion dollars in punitive tariffs on various American products.
On the surface, the law was made to inform American consumers where their meat was coming from. But in Canada and Mexico, it was seen as protectionist.
Some American packing plants decided against accepting Canadian beef or pork because of the additional expenses of identifying and separating non-U.S. product.
The targeted products under COOL ranged from pork and maple syrup to jewelry and office chairs.
International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland called the repealing of the law a “real win for Canada” that will have an immediate benefit to the Canadian economy.
However, Freeland says Canada still intends to obtain formal approval next week from the W-T-O for retaliation, even though the tariffs won’t be imposed.
She says the government thinks “it is prudent of us to take the legal process to its formal, technical conclusion.”
© 2015 The Canadian Press