The United States is represented in Geneva this week as both Canada and Mexico argue their cases before the World Trade Organization. The Canadian and Mexican delegations want the WTO to strike down Washington's country-of-origin labeling policy for beef and pork. The U.S. law currently requires firms to track and notify customers of the origin of meat and other agricultural products at every stage of production, including retail.
John Masswohl of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association says - a big part of the argument is to demonstrate there has been an economic disadvantage to marketing Canadian livestock in the United States because of this law. The Canadians claim the law has cost its beef industry an estimated 300-million dollars and cut live hog exports almost in half. Most of the impact on the Canadian beef industry has been in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
The Canadians claim U.S. livestock buyers have paid lower prices for Canadian cattle because they incur additional costs because of this law and there only way to recover those costs is to pay less for Canadian cattle. The WTO isn't expected to issue its ruling until next July, and that ruling will likely be appealed.