Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Canadian ranchers welcome favourable ruling in trade dispute with U.S.

Alberta’s agriculture industry is applauding the World Trade Organization’s decision to side with Canada in a long-running dispute about an American meat labelling program. “It reaffirms the view we’ve always had, which is that country-of-origin labelling is discriminatory and it violates global trade law,” said Bryan Walton, CEO of the Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association. “A lot of damage has been done. Going forward, we want to ensure the damage is corrected.” Friday’s decision comes after last November’s appeal of a WTO ruling. At that time, the international trade referee found that U.S. rules forcing mandatory labelling of Canadian agricultural products — including beef and pork — were a violation of trade agreements. Bryan Danard of Calgary Stockyards Ltd. said he doesn’t think Canadian cattle prices have been seriously affected by the legislation. There was a perception that U.S. grocery shoppers would stop buying Canadian beef, but that hasn’t happened, he said. “When it originally came in, the market dropped a little bit in Canada. But since then, the consumer’s become pretty much numb to it,” Danard said. “Our cattle are not trading at a discount to U.S. cattle (but) at par.”...more

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