Sask. ag minister in Chicago to heat up COOL discussions

On Nov. 4, (today), Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart will attend the North American Meat Association’s (NAMA) Outlook Conference in Chicago, Illinois to discuss Country of Origin Labelling (COOL).

“This has been a priority for our government since this issue first arose years ago and we are extremely disappointed the U.S. federal government refuses to change their position on COOL, which is clearly a violation of their trade obligations,” Stewart said.  “We are committed to standing up for our producers and working with our partners to resolve this issue.”

COOL legislation requires processors to include country of origin information on meat products sold in the U.S.  Following a World Trade Organization challenge by Canada and Mexico, it was ruled the U.S. was in violation of their trade obligations.  The U.S. subsequently made changes to COOL which created added costs to the process by requiring additional segregation of foreign animals, therefore making the rule even more trade distorting.

The provincial government has continually worked on behalf of producers and industry to resolve COOL.  Provincial representatives helped to pass resolutions at the Pacific Northwest Economic Region Summit and the State Agriculture and Rural Leaders conference calling for the U.S. to change current COOL legislation.  COOL was also discussed at the recent Tri-National Agriculture Accord in Saskatoon, with Canadian, U.S. and Mexican delegates agreeing to work together to find a workable solution to COOL.

Stewart also led a Saskatchewan industry trade mission to the midwest U.S. in June to raise the COOL issue with state government representatives and U.S. businesses, urging them to work with their federal government to find a resolution.

Stewart will be joined by Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Verlyn Olson, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Minister Ron Kostyshyn and representatives from the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and the Canadian Pork Council.

via SW Sask News – Prairie Post – Prairie Post

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