GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Canada today reportedly asked the World Trade Organization (WTO) for permission to retaliate against the United States because of the U.S. country-of-origin labeling regulation (COOL) on certain muscle cuts of meat. Press reports indicate that Canada’s request to impose almost $2.5 billion in additional tariffs on imports from the United States was immediately challenged by the U.S. representative at a meeting of the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB). This objection moved the dispute to an arbitration panel, which has up to 60 days to decide on the level of retaliation that Canada can apply.
“Today’s action underscores the need for the U.S. Congress to reform the COOL regulation,” said Betsy Ward, USA Rice President and CEO. “The U.S. has lost multiple WTO challenges to COOL by Canada and Mexico, and Canada has taken the long-expected next step towards retaliation”
Canada is targeting a cross section of imports from the United States for retaliatory duties, including a duty of 100 percent on U.S. rice. The duty is currently zero. Mexico is also threatening retaliation, but has not published a list of imports subject to increased duties. Mexico was reportedly not able to request retaliation today because the country only late last week revised upward its retaliation request to $713 million. The next meeting of the DSB is June 29.
USA Rice is an active participant in the COOL Reform Coalition whose goal is to bring the United States into compliance with WTO decisions on COOL. “Canada and Mexico are in the driver’s seat, and it’s critical that the Senate follow the House lead and reform COOL,” said Ward. The House voted 300-131 on June 10 to repeal portions of the COOL regulation successfully challenged by Canada and Mexico.