A WTO appeal panel ruled that a U.S. law that requires grocery stores to list the country of origin on meat products discriminates against Canadian and Mexican livestock.
The Conservative government warned that it will strike back with punitive duties unless the U.S. ends the “blatantly protectionist” regulations, which its says are costing the North American cattle and hog industry more than $1-billion a year.
“Canada will be watching this situation closely to ensure U.S. compliance in accordance with the WTO’s clear ruling,” Trade Minister Ed Fast and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said in a joint statement. “We will continue to fully assert our rights to achieve a fair resolution to our concern, including seeking authorization to implement retaliatory measures on U.S. agricultural and non-agricultural products if and as necessary.”
Ottawa has already identified 38 target products for retaliation. The list includes U.S. cattle and hogs, as well as a number symbolic products, including California wine, Vermont maple syrup, Florida orange juice, ketchup and breakfast cereal.
So the issue is the country of origin on the labelling of meat. Discrimination against Canada. The Conservative government is hopping mad and willing to protect the meat industry but will do nothing to protect its own citizens and permanent residents (who pay taxes and according to Hon. Sinclair Stevens, are fulling entitled to the protection of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms). It will however, engage in a trade war for cattle and pigs.
Ottawa is willing to slap on some sanctions in this disagreement but it never seemed to occur to them to respond in a similar fashion when Washington decided to put a crippling sanction on the financial industry. FATCA has been estimated to also cost $1 billion per year. Same issues, same cost.
I find it incredibly ironic that Canada will choose “symbolic products” to target. “Punitive,” “country of origin,” “discrimination” and “asserting our rights.” Sound familiar?