Agriculture minister hopes US will repeal meat label requirements avoid tariffs

Thinkstock by News Staff Posted May 21, 2015 4:29 pm MDT Last Updated May 21, 2015 at 4:36 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Canada’s agriculture minister reiterated his position on U.S. meat label requirements Thursday, after the World Trade Organization ruled they violate trade obligations.Gerry Ritz made the comments in Calgary, saying it’s up to the U.S. to repeal the requirements, known as COOL, otherwise Canada will impose retaliatory tariffs against its southern neighbour.“We’re now driving the bus, we’re not under it anymore,” Ritz said, adding he’s spoken to U.S. officials and there are efforts to get them repealed.Under COOL, Canadian and Mexican livestock and meat shipments are segregated from American production, which Ritz said damages North America’s supply chain, including American farmers as well as Canadians.Ritz said he would rather have the U.S. deal with the issue than move to tariffs.“That’s our plan B, if they don’t come through with the fix to COOL like repealing it, then that’s our plan B,” he said, adding damages to Canada would depend on what the WTO would allow.“We’d bring our economic model to them as to the hurt that we’ve faced from a livestock perspective, some are $2.5 to $3 billion a year,” he said.However, Ritz said he’s confident a solution is on the way.“Rules are rules, we’re all WTO members,” he said. “If you want to step outside of that, you become a bit of a pariah on the world state, you know you’re out there all by yourself, it’s not a good place to be.”Ritz was asked during his discussion with American officials if there’s been any blowback.“There is from certain groups who supported COOL,” he said. “Having said that, the vast majority of the industry was with us in the U.S. because it’s hurting them as well.”“Their own economic analysis done by the United States Dept. of Agriculture has shown over a $2 billion hurt to their own industry.Mexico is also involved in getting the laws eliminated. Agriculture minister hopes U.S. will repeal meat label requirements, avoid tariffs read more

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