From the Alberta Farmer Express, which gives an update on the ongoing Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) dispute between the two nations:
(For a refresher on the COOL conflict, check out this previous BTBObserver entry.)
Though the U.S. is Canada’s largest trading partner, [Canadian Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry] Ritz says the relationship has become one-sided. “At the same time the Americans talk a good deal on the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) and expanding trade, they do everything within their power to make it on their terms only. That’s not good trade policy.”
As with other non-science-based trade barriers, Ritz sees COOL as “a political solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.” Consumers in the U.S. are well versed in the similarities between our science-based food safety approach and the way we raise our cattle, he said.
As Canadian, Mexican and U.S. meat sectors work on the appeal, Ritz has been meeting with state senators and congressmen to reinforce to those who are sitting on the fence that “it’s not comfortable there.”
In the six months since the injunction to stop the implementation of COOL failed, about 100 American state-level senators have signed on to support the appeal. “There’s been a huge ground shift down there,” he said.
The sudden change in attitudes may be in response to the promise of retaliatory measures against the U.S. if they proceed with implementing COOL. In June, Canada released a long list of items imported by the U.S. that may be targeted, including fresh meat, processed foods and other agricultural products.