The World Trade Organization (WTO) gave the United States, Canada and Mexico an extra two months to decide whether to appeal a November ruling that found American country-of-origin labeling (COOL) provisions unfairly hurt agricultural commerce.
The three governments now have until March 23 to challenge the judges' finding that U.S. requirements for food processors to identify the nations from which cattle, hogs and some fresh produce originate break global trade rules, the WTO said in a statement in Geneva this week.
Canada and Mexico had argued that the provisions imposed unfair costs on their exports, reducing their competitiveness. They lodged their complaints in December 2008, disputing provisions of the U.S. Food, Conservation and Energy Act that impose mandatory COOL labeling for beef, pork, chicken, lamb and goat as well as some perishables sold by American retailers.
The requests to extend the deadline, initially set for Jan. 18, were made in light of the WTO appellate body's current workload, according to documents submitted by the three governments to the Geneva-based trade arbiter.
Reprinted in part from Bloomberg