Ottawa seeks WTO help to change revised US country-of-origin labelling rules

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OTTAWA - Ottawa is again going to the World Trade Organization to try and get the United States to change its country-of-origin labelling rules on beef and pork imports.

The WTO has already ruled in Canada's favour in the long-standing dispute, and Ottawa has issued a list of possible retaliatory measures it is prepared to institute.

But Trade Minister Ed Fast says he will not go to the retaliatory stage until the WTO compliance panel authorizes it.

The U.S. amended its so-called COOL regulations on country-of-origin labelling on beef and pork after the WTO ruled against country's original rules last year.

But Fast says the recent amendments are still afoul of the WTO ruling on the issue and will further hinder the ability of Canadian cattle and hog producers to freely compete in the U.S. market.

In June, the government released a list of goods from the U.S. subject to punitive taxes if Washington does not change its COOL regulations.

Washington first imposed its country-of-origin labelling system in 2008, a move the U.S. Department of Agriculture said was designed to help consumers make informed decisions about food choices.

The labelling system cut Canadian cattle shipments to the U.S. by 50 per cent within a year and cut the export of slaughter hogs by 58 per cent.

Organizations: World Trade Organization, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Geographic location: United States, Ottawa, Canada Washington

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