January 30, 2009

Mexico to continue fighting COOL without Canada

Mexico will continue its World Trade Organisation (WTO) complaint against the US country-of-origin labelling (COOL) rules without Canada, said Agriculture Minister Alberto Cardenas on Thursday (Jan 29).


"Canada is pulling out but we will continue and on February 26 we will have consultations at the WTO," Cardenas said.


Mexico and Canada had both challenged COOL, set to become mandatory in US grocery stores later this year, claiming that the new ruling will severely hurt Mexican and Canadian livestock and meat industries.


However, Canada dropped its complaint earlier this month after the US made changes to make the rules more flexible.


The amended rules are due to take effect on March 16.


US consumer and farm groups support the measure, saying the labels help shoppers to know the origin of products they purchase. Mexico argues that the rules will discourage US meatpackers from slaughtering imported animals due to the cost of complying with the regulations.

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