Bristling against the United States Department of Agriculture’s use of country-of-origin labeling — which mandates that supermarkets and similar retailers must identify the source of certain foods — the government of Canada is considering introducing tariffs against meat and other products imported from the United States.
The issue dates back to a law from 2009 (the Final Rule on Mandatory Country of Origin Labelling), which required U.S. grocers to provide consumers with information about the origins of their food, with labels like, “Born in Mexico, Raised and Slaughtered in the United States.”
After considering a number of taxable goods, the most likely targets for tariffs — used to limit trade between countries — are meats imported from the U.S.
“I don't think it's a stretch to say we're going to target beef and pork because that's what led us to this stage,” Gerry Ritz, Canada’s minister of agriculture, told Reuters.
Other products, including cherries, California wines, and American furniture, are also in consideration for their political impact, according to Ritz.
Earlier this week, the World Trade Organization ruled that country-of-origin labeling (COOL) laws acted to discriminate against livestock imported from Canada and Mexico, and rejected an appeal from the United States.
Although both Mexico and Canada might impose sanctions against the United States as a result, American lawmakers have already made plans to repeal COOL laws.
“Hopefully cooler heads will prevail,” said Minister Ritz, who will visit Washington, D.C., this week to discuss the issue with lawmakers.