- Canada's Agriculture Minister, Gerry Ritz, has officially warned the U.S. about retaliation if the U.S. pursues a voluntary scheme for country-of-origin labels (COOL), which was introduced into the Senate last month.
- "Senators (John) Hoeven and (Debbie) Stabenow's proposal in no way reflects Canada’s voluntary labeling regime – any suggestion of this is blatantly false. A voluntary regime as they propose does not require legislation. Should the United States move forward with their short-sighted proposal, Canada will have no choice but to impose billions of dollars of retaliatory tariffs on United States exports," Ritz said, according to Just-Food.
- The senators who introduced the voluntary COOL legislation said it could help the U.S. "satisfy its international trade arrangements and also 'empower' consumers by providing them with access to meats labeled 'product of the US,' Just-Food reported.
The only way for the U.S. to move forward without facing tariffs from Canada is a full repeal of COOL, which the House proposed in May.
The North American Meat Institute favors this move as well. According to Just-Food, "Speaking at the time, president and CEO Barry Carpenter insisted regulators could not 'waste precious time debating proposals other than full and simple repeal' given the threat of trade sanctions. 'Anything else jeopardizes important segments of the US economy and ultimately our consumers,' he insisted."
At this point legislators have to weigh which is more important: labeling or avoiding tariffs. Both will ultimately impact producers and consumers.