CCA and CPC Join US Legal Action to Block USDA’s Mandatory COOL Rule
Ottawa, July 9, 2013 – On Monday July 8, a legal challenge was filed with the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia by members of the U.S. and Canadian meat industry to stay USDA’s Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) rule. The Canadian Pork Council (CPC) and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) are co-plaintiffs in this action.
Plaintiffs believe that a legislative change is required for the U.S. to come into compliance with its WTO obligations on COOL. “The U.S. Congress missed an opportunity to implement a legislative change to COOL in the farm bill deliberations,” stated CPC’s Chair Jean-Guy Vincent. “CPC has partnered with its U.S. counterparts in this legal challenge to quickly resolve this dispute as legislative options for the U.S. to come into compliance with its WTO obligations become fewer.”
“I am encouraged by the response and support we receive from the U.S. meat industry,” added Mr. Vincent. “Our American counterparts are clearly concerned that COOL will have a serious economic impact on their industry, leading to plant closures and lost jobs as well as reduced international cost competitiveness of the entire North American meat industry. This will likely lead to increased prices for consumers.”
The CPC commissioned an analysis that shows the impact of COOL on the Canadian hog sector from lost exports alone is $500 million annually. This does not include any other impacts on Canada’s hog producers such as domestic price suppression or additional impact from the new COOL rule that went into effect in May.
As presented in the analysis, COOL has had a severe impact on the overall Canadian livestock industry. Since the implementation of mandatory COOL in 2008, there has been a decrease in exports to the U.S. of Canadian live swine of 41% and 46% for beef cattle. Total estimated damages due to price declines, lost sales and added costs to the Canadian livestock sector have exceeded $1 billion per year.
This legal challenge represents a third channel by which the CPC is seeking a resolution to COOL and its discrimination against Canadian livestock exports. The CPC will continue to work closely with the Government of Canada to pursue a WTO compliance panel that could lead to retaliatory tariffs if the revised U.S. rule is not compliant with U.S. WTO obligatioons. Secondly, CPC will continue to look for the U.S. Congress to make a legislative change that would remove the discriminatory impact of COOL.
The CPC serves as the national voice for hog producers in Canada. A federation of nine provincial pork industry associations, our organization’s purpose is to play a leadership role in achieving and maintaining a dynamic and prosperous Canadian pork sector.