COOL repeal brings joy to Canadian beef and pork farmers

It was cool runnings for Canadian beef and pork producers after the US repealed its COOL legislation on Friday, Dec. 18.

It was cool runnings for Canadian beef and pork producers after the United States government repealed its country of origin labeling (COOL) legislation on Friday, Dec. 18.

Pressure from the World Trade Organization (WTO), which stated that the COOL legislation discriminated against Canadian and Mexican beef and pork, allowed Canada to institute tariffs up to an amount of $1 billion a year. Working with the WTO were the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) as well as the Canadian Pork Council to have the law repealed, one that has negatively affected Canadian producers since 2008.

WTO pressures helped repeal the legislation and was seen as a positive step to improving the market for producers, says Rich Smith, executive director of Alberta Beef Producers. He said it removed a major barrier to buyers when purchasing Canadian or Mexican beef and hogs.

“Between the cattle and hog industry, it was costing us $3 billion a year,” explained Smith.

The trouble with COOL is that it created additional costs to buyers to show where an animal had been raised, which became cost prohibitive when buying from outside the United States, explained Smith. What makes things even more difficult with COOL is that animals sometimes are transported back and forth between the countries and that had to be included in the labeling.

The retaliatory tariffs approved by the WTO were a positive step to change, said Smith. The CCA, with support from provincial beef groups used targeted market tariffs that would cause Canada’s largest trade partner to rethink its legislation.

Smith added that the only way the CCA was able to pay for arbitration was from the non refunded portion of beef checkoffs. Producers supported the cause by opting out of the beef checkoff refund.

Producer Tony Saretsky, who has been in the beef business for decades in Ponoka County, said the COOL repeal should have happened sooner considering its negative affects on producers.

“In particular it caused a substantial reduction in our herd,” said Saretsky.

“It (COOL) shouldn’t have happened in the first place,” he added.

One of the industry’s biggest challenges, said Saretsky, is the industry is too polite with the United States policy makers. “We never deal from strength. We’re always the odd man out and we don’t want to offend anybody,” he stated.

With the latest legislation abolishing COOL, Saretsky hopes to find some semblance of normality in the market and suggests there will be a slow but steady acceptance from US buyers.

He feels the real struggle is with the population. Canada’s producers are dependant on exports and while its beef has relatively strong marketing, it is a drop in the bucket compared to the United States’ numbers, said Saretsky.

 

Just Posted

Dangers of distracted driving highlighted in mock crash

Ponoka Secondary Campus students had a taste of reality in a mock crash on distracted driving

Ponoka church hosts community summer sports series

Basketball and volleyball brings Filipino families together as part of a summer sports series.

Red Deer Lake residents have seen water levels drop steadily

AEP study shows levels on straight line decline for 40 years, investigation will continue

Ponoka high school students fundraise for women’s shelter

Creating awareness for #MMIW Ponoka Secondary Campus students hosted a bake sale

Maskwacis and feds sign historic education agreement

The Maskwacis Education School Commission signed an agreement setting the stage for their education

VIDEO: Canadians rise for early-morning Royal wedding celebrations

Canadians gathered for early-morning broadcast of marriage between Meghan Markle, Prince Harry

CP rail workers give strike notice

Employees could walk out as early as Tuesday at 7 p.m. PT

Vote points to abortion being legalized in Ireland

Voters asked whether to keep or repeal Eighth Amendment to Roman Catholic Ireland’s Constitution

Canadian soccer officials talk up World Cup bid at Champions League final

Current bid calls for 2026 World Cup games to be staged in the U.S., Canada and Mexico

WATCH: Alix holds 2nd annual Icebreaker Roughstock

Many come out to see some intense rodeo action

B.C. RCMP swoop in to save injured eagle

An eagle with a broken wing now in a recovery facility after RCMP rescue near Bella Coola

Bug spray 101: Health Canada wants you to stay bite free

Health Canada is reminding Canadians to use bug spray and other insect repellents safely

Former B.C. premier says pot industry about to enter Wild West

Mike Harcourt says Canada is about to enter a new gold rush with many dreaming of striking it rich

Hunt continues for two suspects in Ontario restaurant explosion

The explosion left 15 people injured, but all victims have now been released from hospital

Most Read