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Minister Ritz Continues Government’s Call for a Legislative Fix to COOL

On February 5, 2015, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz concluded a series of meetings in Washington, DC, where he reiterated Canada’s position on U.S. Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) to influential newly elected U.S. House and Senate members.

Minister Ritz held bilateral discussions with key representatives from the House and Senate Agriculture Committees. In the meetings, Minister Ritz called for a legislative fix to COOL, and reinforced that mandatory COOL continues to significantly disrupt the North American supply chain, create unpredictability in the market, and impose additional costs on producers on both sides of the border.

Minister Ritz stated, “Mandatory COOL continues to hurt ranchers, businesses, and the overall red-meat industry on both sides of the border. These meetings provided the opportunity to reinforce with key American legislators that the Canadian Government will continue to stand up for our farmers and ranchers and we will utilize all options, including retaliation, to ensure this harm is put to a permanent end.”

While in Washington, DC, Minister Ritz led a delegation which included the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, the Canadian Pork Council, and the Canadian Meat Council. They participated in roundtable meetings with the COOL Reform Coalition and the Barnyard Coalition. During the discussions, Minister Ritz expressed support for each industry coalition’s efforts to advocate for a legislative fix to COOL discrimination.

Canada will continue to fully assert its rights to achieve a fair resolution on COOL, including seeking authorization to implement retaliatory measures on U.S. agricultural and non-agricultural products if and as necessary.

Quick Facts:
• The Canadian livestock industry estimates the damages caused by COOL to be well over $1 billion annually.
• U.S. exports to Canada would be at risk, including U.S. beef and pork, valued at over $2 billion annually, if Canada were to implement retaliatory measures.
• The Reform Coalition is made up of a diverse group of associations and companies representing U.S. food, agriculture, and manufacturing industries.
• The Barnyard Coalition, also known as the Meat and Livestock Coalition, comprises U.S. livestock and meat representatives.

More Information and Additional links:
COOL Fact Sheet
Statement by Canada and Mexico on U.S. Country of Origin Labelling
Ministers Fast and Ritz Call on U.S. to Comply with WTO Decision and Respect Trade Obligations
WTO Compliance Panel Report
2013 Canada Gazette notice seeking comments on the proposed list of targeted U.S. imports