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NPPC asks US to comply with WTO meat label ruling

The NPPC are urging the Obama administration to comply with a WTO decision against the United States' Mandatory Country-of-Origin Labelling (MCOOL) law. The council are also working to promote harmonisation of the North American hog market.

The WTO Appellate Body Friday upheld a previous WTO dispute settlement panel ruling that the meat labelling law violates US trade obligations under the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade. NPPC opposed MCOOL when it was under consideration in the US Congress.

“We believed when it was being debated in Congress that MCOOL would be an unnecessary burden to trade,” said NPPC President RC Hunt, a pork producer from North Carolina. “We have maintained that belief consistently from the outset, and we will be working to achieve U.S. compliance with today’s WTO decision”.

Hunt pointed out that the United States risks retaliation from Canada and Mexico, both of which filed complaints with the WTO over the US labelling law, if it refuses to comply with the MCOOL ruling. Canada complained that MCOOL hurt Canadian livestock producers.

NPPC’s position on MCOOL is consistent with its longstanding support for harmonization of North American meat and livestock policies with regard to product labelling, food safety, animal health and subsidy programs.

On the latter two issues, NPPC has asked the Canadian government to recognize the US swine herd health status as equivalent to Canada’s – recognition that will facilitate pork trade between the countries – and to reform its hog subsidy programs, which distort the North American hog and pork market, limiting the growth of US pork production, employment and profitability.

Ontario’s Risk Management Program, for example, which over five years would boost Canadian hog production by more than 606,000 animals, would cut U.S. pork production by more than 430,000 hogs worth more than $73 million and cost nearly 600 US pork industry jobs, according to an estimate by Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes.

Source: Pork Network 

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