December 19, 2008
Mexico has joined Canada in opposing the US' country-of-origin labelling (COOL) regulation for fresh beef and pork by filing a complaint with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on Thursday (Dec 18).
WTO has received Mexico's official complaint, which starts a 60-day consultation period between Mexican and US authorities, said a WTO official.
Mexico can request for an investigative panel after the consultation period. Such trade disputes can lead to punitive sanctions, but usually after years of litigation.
Canada had filed its complaint earlier this month, as it was concerned that the new rules were discriminating Canadian agricultural exporters.
Under COOL, foreign livestock must be segregated in US feedlots and packing plants, resulting in some companies to only deal with US livestock. Foreign livestock are also required to have more documentation on their place-of-origin and, in the case of cattle, must have tags that indicate they are free of mad cow disease.
Canadian farm groups said a growing number of US meat plants are rejecting Canadian livestock for processing since the COOL law went into effect on October 1.