Posted on 03/15/2013, 7:58 am, by

During a trade mission to Minnesota yesterday, Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Ron Kostyshyn expressed concerns with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s proposed changes to the United States’ country of origin labelling (COOL) regulations.

“Manitoba hog and cattle producers have already been hit hard by COOL regulations in the United States and these proposed measures will increase discrimination against livestock from Manitoba,” said Kostyshyn. “Imposing more barriers and costly changes on U.S. processors who rely on the Canada-U.S. livestock sector is bad for both countries’ economies.”

The World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled last June that COOL discriminates against exports of Canadian livestock. In Manitoba’s view, the U.S. will not be in compliance with this ruling if it goes through with the proposed changes. In fact, these changes would worsen the negative impact on Manitoba hog and cattle producers by making the COOL system even more complicated, the minister said.

The Government of Canada has already expressed extreme disappointment with these proposed changes.

“I support Minister Ritz’s position on these changes,” said Kostyshyn. “I commit to continuing our close working relationship with the federal government to stand up for our livestock producers.”

Kostyshyn expressed his concerns with the proposed changes to United States agricultural officials and industry representatives while on his trade mission to Minneapolis yesterday. The trade mission’s goal was to promote and establish new areas of collaboration and partnerships with the United States.