News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

May 24, 2013

MANITOBA GOVERNMENT EXPRESSES DISAPPOINTMENT WITH U.S. COUNTRY OF ORIGIN LABELLING REGULATIONS


Province Stands behind Manitoba Hog, Cattle Producers against Changes: Kostyshyn

The province has expressed its disappointment in the United States’ continued unwillingness to comply with its obligations under the World Trade Organization (WTO) for country of origin labelling (COOL), Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Ron Kostyshyn said today.

“The United States’ changes to COOL will further discriminate against our cattle and hog producers and negatively impact industries on both sides of the border,” said Kostyshyn.  “As a province, we will continue to work with industry, other provinces and the federal government to stand with our hog and cattle producers against these unfair measures.”

The WTO ruled last June that COOL discriminates against exports of Canadian livestock.  The United States had until today to implement regulatory or legislative changes to COOL.  However, the final rule amending COOL, published by the United States Department of Agriculture yesterday, does not include changes needed to bring COOL into compliance with its WTO obligations.  In Manitoba’s view, these changes will worsen the barriers facing Canadian livestock since COOL regulations were first implemented in 2008, Kostyshyn said.

“Manitoba’s hog and cattle farmers have already been hit hard by the effects of COOL and these new changes will only worsen the negative impact by making the COOL system more complicated,” said Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade Minister Peter Bjornson.

Bjornson also noted that in 2012, slaughter hog exports were down 77 per cent as compared to 2007, pre-COOL numbers.  Isowean/feeder pig exports were 28 per cent lower and slaughter cattle exports also saw 74 per cent decline over the same period, he noted.

Kostyshyn raised concerns with the COOL changes in March of this year during a trade mission to Minnesota at meetings with U.S. legislators, agricultural officials and industry representatives.  Manitoba also wrote to the United States Department of Agriculture to express concern with the regulatory changes.

The province supports the federal government’s consideration of all options at its disposal to assist the industry including, if necessary, the use of retaliatory measures.  Kostyshyn also recognized the work of federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Gerry Ritz and federal International Trade and the Asia-Pacific Gateway Minister Edward Fast to lobby the United States to change COOL.  The province will continue to work with the federal government to address this significant trade barrier and to open up new markets for Canadian cattle and hogs, Kostyshyn said.

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