Canada willing to take action against U.S. over meat labeling

Fri Oct 31, 2014 4:06pm EDT
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada will pursue "any and all remedies" to pressure the United States to drop regulations on meat labeling that Canada considers discriminatory, the country's trade minister said on Friday.

Ed Fast, Canada's international trade minister, declined to elaborate on any deadlines for further action.

"We have made it very clear that this is a blatant violation of WTO rules, and that we will certainly pursue any and all remedies that we have available to us," Fast told Reuters after talks with U.S. and Mexican counterparts in Toronto on Friday.

The United States faces potential trade sanctions from Canada and Mexico after the World Trade Organization ruled on Oct. 20 that it had failed to bring its meat labeling regulations fully in line with international fair trading rules. The U.S. regulations require retailers such as grocery stores to list the country of origin on meat.

Fast said progress in the dispute was incremental, but that Canada was hopeful the United States will "actually now make sincere efforts to eliminate the discriminatory nature of these labeling requirements."

Canada has said it will ask the WTO to approve retaliatory actions against the United States. Last year, it released a list of numerous U.S. products, ranging from beef and pork to cherries and ketchup, that it may target for trade retaliation.

(Additional reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Leslie Adler)

Canada's International Trade Minister Ed Fast speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa October 1, 2014.  REUTERS/Chris Wattie