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WTO COOL complaint to proceed

Canada will proceed with a complaint to the World Trade Organization about the U.S. country-of-origin (COOL) meat labelling law, Trade Minister Stockwell Day  told reporters in Washington on Monday.

“I’ve informed Ambassador (Ron) Kirk that we will move forward with the (WTO) consultation,” Day was reported as saying by Reuters.

The complaint will now move into a 60-day consultation period.
“By giving formal notification of a consultation period, it says, ‘We think this is offside and we want the consultation period to begin,'”Day said.

The WTO action had been put on hold in January when Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said Ottawa would monitor how the U.S. government applies its final COOL rule.

But before the law went into effect on March 16, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack warned meat packers he would rewrite it unless they voluntarily made labels more explicit.

Canada has asked for more details about Vilsack’s request, but failed to receive clarification, Day said.

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