Canada says end to meat dispute a sign of better U.S. relations

Fri Dec 18, 2015 4:54pm EST
 
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TORONTO Dec 18 (Reuters) - Canada said a decision by the United States to scrap a law which the World Trade Organisation said was costing Canadian beef and pork producers over $1 billion a year was a sign of improving relations with the U.S.

Beef and pork trade with the United States will return to normal levels, government ministers told reporters after the U.S. Congress agreed to repeal a 2009 U.S. requirement that retail outlets label food with information about its origin.

The U.S. country-of-origin labelling (COOL) rules had been a long-running source of contention between Canada and the United States.

Canada's International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland said the outcome was a sign of improving relations between Canada and the United States since Canada's new Liberal government was elected in October.

"One of the things that the prime minister has asked me to take particular care about is really working hard to make our relationship with the United States strong and effective and that's a reason today's repeal gives me particular pleasure," she told reporters on a conference call.

"This is a real demonstration of our commitment to working closely with our North American partners to advance our shared prosperity," she added.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) earlier this month authorized Canada to retaliate against the United States over the meat labelling rules, saying they cost Canada 1.055 billion Canadian dollars ($757.14 million) a year in lost sales and lower prices.

"The WTO ruled that our producers were being discriminated against, were suffering a billion dollars worth of damage a year. That is now being reversed," said Freeland.

($1 = 1.3934 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Matt Scuffham)