December 07, 2015

Government of Saskatchewan Urges U.S. Senate to Repeal COOL Immediately

Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart and the Government of Saskatchewan support the World Trade Organization (WTO) arbitrator’s report released today that establishes the value of Canada’s retaliatory tariffs in response to Country of Origin Labelling (COOL).

The ruling values Canada’s retaliatory tariffs at more than $1 billion CAD.  The products on Canada’s retaliation list, which include wine and chocolate, are targeted at the constituents of U.S. legislators who support the mandatory COOL requirements.

“We are confident that these retaliatory tariffs will demonstrate to the United States that Canada is not backing down when it comes to discriminatory COOL requirements,” Stewart said.  “COOL benefits neither U.S. producers nor consumers and it costs the Canadian and U.S. economies billions of dollars every year.  It needs to be immediately repealed.

“We are pleased to see the statement by Ministers Freeland and MacAulay that Canada will quickly take steps to retaliate if the U.S. Senate does not immediately take action to repeal COOL for beef and pork.  Our government will continue to work with them to resolve this unfair trade practice.”

The WTO compliance panel has ruled in Canada’s favour for the last three years — in June 2012, June 2014, and most recently, in May 2015, when it delivered its final decision on COOL, reaffirming U.S. non-compliance with WTO rules.  Following the May ruling, Canada requested permission to apply tariffs as a means to enforce trade compliance.   The arbitrator’s report published today determines the value of retaliatory tariffs allowed.

“We welcome the World Trade Organization’s support on this issue,” Stewart said.  “Their consistent rulings make it clear that COOL is needlessly segregating Canadian beef and pork and demonstrates that the United States is violating their trade obligations.  We are disappointed that we have to continue pressing to get our most important trading partner to comply, but Canada’s retaliation list should effectively encourage the United States to repeal these unnecessary trade barriers.”

Mandatory COOL requirements for beef and pork results in discrimination against Canadian products since U.S. producers, processors, distributors and retailers must separate Canadian animals—and Canadian meat—at each step in the supply chain.  In other words, it’s more expensive for businesses to import livestock and encourages businesses to handle only animals and meat produced in the U.S. Industry has estimated that COOL costs the Canadian agriculture industry more than $1 billion every year.