Wednesday, November 23, 2011

WTO rules against U.S. country-of-origin labels

According to the Associated Press, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has ruled that U.S. "country-of-origin" labels on cattle and hog exports from Canada and Mexico violate international rules. In late 2009, the WTO opened an investigation into U.S. labeling rules at the request of Canada and Mexico. The country-of-origin labeling regulation took effect in 2008. Canada and Mexico each claimed their livestock industries were hurt by a sharp drop in U.S. cattle and hog imports because the labeling raised the costs and discouraged imports of their produce.

Under country-of-origin labeling, foreign cattle and pigs had to be segregated in U.S. feedlots and packing plants, prompting some firms to deal only with American livestock. Foreign animals also were required to have more documentation about where they came from and, in the case of cattle, had to have tags that indicated they were free of mad-cow disease.

More information is available here.

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