Canadian Manufacturing

U.S. files appeal with WTO over controversial COOL ruling

U.S. filed notice of appeal over ruling striking down COOL regulations as discriminatory against Canada, Mexico

GENEVA—The United States has filed an appeal over a ruling against it in the controversial Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) battle.

According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the U.S. filed a notice of appeal over a ruling striking down the COOL regulations as discriminatory.

The WTO made the ruling in favour of Canada and Mexico in October.

The WTO said very little about the appeal, only providing general information regarding the appeals process.

“Appeals have to be based on points of law, such as legal interpretation—they cannot re-open factual findings made by the panel,” the organization said in a statement on its website.

“Each appeal is heard by three members of a permanent seven-member appellate body comprising persons of recognized authority and unaffiliated with any government.”

The COOL regulations, which went into effect in 2008, are blamed for cutting in half the amount of Canadian meat exported to the U.S.

In its ruling, a WTO panel said the regulations break trade rules because they treat Canadian and Mexican livestock less favourably than U.S. livestock.

Under COOL rules, all packaged meat must have labels identifying where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered.

Some American companies have said they can’t afford to sort, label and store meat from countries like Canada and Mexico differently than meat from domestic sources.

A week before the U.S. filed its appeal, U.S. Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack said the country is running out of options for the meat labels, and said Congress either needs to change the law, or Mexico and Canada need to negotiate a settlement with the U.S.

The WTO said an appeals panel “generally” has up to three months to make a decision.

With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press

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