Monday, June 10, 2013

June 10, 2013


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Tariffs Proposed as Response to U.S. Unwillingness to Change Country of Origin Labelling
The province supports the Government of Canada in identifying a list of potential products for possible retaliatory tariffs in response to 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.
“By not making changes to COOL, the United States is continuing to negatively affect our farmers through unfair trade practices and, in turn, hurting our agriculture industry,” said Kostyshyn.  “Unfortunately, the federal government has been left with no choice but to propose these retaliatory tariffs and, as a province, we stand behind this action and behind our farmers.”
On Friday, the federal government released a list of potential U.S. agricultural products to which Canada could apply retaliatory tariffs.  This list was created with input from Canadian industry and includes products such as U.S. cattle, pigs, beef, pork, some fruits and vegetables, chocolate and other products.  The list of products for proposed retaliation will be published in the Canada Gazette and would need to be approved by the World Trade Organization.
The WTO ruled last June that COOL discriminates against exports of Canadian livestock.  The United States had until May 23, 2013, to implement regulatory or legislative changes to COOL.  The United States Department of Agriculture did not make the needed changes 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.
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.
Kostyshyn is currently attending the 2013 Legislative Agriculture Chairs Summit in Vancouver and has raised his concerns with COOL.  He also raised these same concerns in March of this year during a trade mission to Minnesota at meetings with U.S. legislators, agricultural officials and industry representatives. 
Kostyshyn said he recognizes the work of federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Gerry Ritz and federal International Trade and the Asia-Pacific Gateway Minister Ed Fast for their continued efforts to bring fairness for Canadian producers which includes today’s proposed tariffs.  The province also continues to work with the federal government and Manitoba’s agriculture industry to address this significant trade barrier for Canadian producers, Kostyshyn said.
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