WTO says US has not complied with meat labeling ruling
(Reuters) – The United States has not done enough to change its meat labeling rules after losing a World Trade Organization challenge brought by Mexico and Canada, the WTO said on Monday.
The WTO ruled in June 2012 that the U.S. meat labeling program, known as COOL, unfairly discriminated against Canada and Mexico because it gave less favorable treatment to beef and pork imported from those countries than to U.S. meat.
The United States said it had met a deadline to change its rules, but Canada and Mexico said it had not done enough, a claim that was at least partially upheld by the ruling published on Monday.
The U.S. law, which requires retailers such as grocery stores to list the country of origin on meat, has resulted in fewer Canadian pigs and cattle being exported to the U.S. since 2009, according to the Canadian government.
The WTO said the revised U.S. labeling rules treated Mexican and Canadian livestock exports less favorably than U.S. livestock, which is illegal according to WTO rules.
Under a timetable agreed by the three countries involved, any of them can appeal against the latest ruling within 20 days.
Unless the revised U.S. labeling rules are given the all-clear by the WTO’s Appellate Body, Mexico and Canada can ask the trade body to let them impose a certain amount of trade sanctions on the United States. The United States can challenge the amount.
(Reporting by Tom Miles; editing by Stephanie Nebehay)
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