The costs from MCOOL keep rising and don?t expect a reprieve anytime soon


Junior Member
by Harry Siemens

Harry Siemens ? While pork producers in Manitoba and across Canada are hoping the U.S. will make the changes to Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling needed to bring it into compliance with its international trade obligations an American consultant says they shouldn?t hold their breath.
Steve Meyer of Paragon Economics says if the WTO upholds Canada?s win and throws out the United States appeal, the U.S. would most likely need to make legislative changes to bring the law into compliance. Earlier this year, the WTO Appellate Body heard the U.S. appeal of a November 2011 WTO ruling that U.S. MCOOL affords U.S. produced livestock preferential treatment and violates U.S. trade obligations.

Meyer says in the event the WTO upholds the original ruling, the U.S. will have about one year to rectify the situation before Canada and Mexico can apply retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products.

?Two possibilities, one of them is that USDA, the administration could change the rules to meet what WTO is demanding but the problem is the law is pretty prescriptive and most of us don?t really think there?s a lot of wiggle room to change the rule so that it meets WTO demands and still meets the letter of the U.S. law,? he says. ?For that reason most of us think that it?s going to be a legislative fix in that congress is going to have to change the actual law in order to meet the WTO conditions and that?s more difficult to do.
Meyer says some talk suggests tying it to the farm bill, but the slow pace its moving and the lack of attention so far and no resolution to this appeal yet, makes that less likely.
?We have a challenge trying to get congress to actually act on something as, what they would view as inconsequential as this, what we would view as quite consequential, changing law in order to meet the WTO ruling,? he says.

Meyer doesn?t believe anything will happen anytime soon.