By May 3 the WTO Appellate Body had completed its hearing on the United States appeal of it loss of the WTO dispute panel on its Country of Origin Labeling regime (COOL) as it applies to imported livestock, specifically Canadian hogs and beef cattle.
“We are very pleased with how Canada’s dispute with COOL has been argued at the WTO – first before the Panel and now in front of the Appellate Body,” Canadian Pork Council Chair Jean-Guy Vincent said.
The federal government, the CPC and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association has contested mandatory COOL since its inclusion in the 2002 U.S. Farm Bill.
Jurgen Preugschas noted that the government “very effectively argued that the (COOL) law is a protectionist measure.”
The Mayerthorpe, Alberta pork producer explained, “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.
“The Canadian legal team and their colleagues from DFAIT 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.”
CPC’s international trade counsel 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 towards the end of June.“
He went on to note that in dealing with the COOL appeal the Appellate Body will almost certainly clarify rules which will be important with respect to COOL and to properly disciplining the proliferation of technical measures around the world.