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Canada to retaliate against America's meat label laws

WTO rules country of origin rules violate trade agreements

Canada will likely impose retaliatory tariffs against the United States by late summer or early fall, if Washington doesn't repeal its country of origin labelling rules.

The World Trade Organization ruled Monday that the American label requirements, known as COOL, violate America's trade obligations.

As a result, Canada will ask permission from the WTO to “take retaliatory measures against U.S. exports,” Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said Tuesday.

``We call on the United States to repeal COOL legislation and comply with its international obligations,” he said.

International Trade Minister Ed Fast said Canada and Mexico will ask the WTO to authorize those retaliatory measures, but the process will take some months.

``We are very serious about doing this,'' he said, adding however that Canada isn’t intent on sparking a trade war with its biggest trade partner.

``The Canada-U.S. relationship is far bigger than one particular irritant,'' he said.

America’s labelling laws segregate Canadian and Mexican livestock and meat shipments from U.S. production.

That damages the whole North American supply chain and is costing Canadian farmers, Ritz said.

Canada and Mexico are still working with the United States to eliminate the laws.

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