The Canadian government announced that it is seeking formal consultations with the United States regarding mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) under the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement process. The mandatory country-of-origin labeling law requires most retailers in the U.S. to ensure that country-of-origin information is provided for certain beef, lamb, chicken and pork products.
Producers in Canada argue that COOL is a trade barrier because it makes it more difficult and costly for meat packers and processors to handle meat of Canadian origin. The decision to request consultations follows discussions and representations to the United States about Canada’s concerns with COOL.
WTO consultations provide the parties with an opportunity to resolve a dispute through formal discussions. If consultations fail to resolve the issue, the matter can be referred to a WTO dispute settlement panel.