The World Trade Organization (WTO) announced Tuesday that the United States will have until May 23, 2013, to comply with WTO rules on technical barriers to trade in response to complaints from Mexico and Canada that the United States discriminated against meat imported from the two countries.
Though Canada and Mexico both lobbied for earlier compliance timelines - Jan. 23 and March 23, respectively - neither lobby was successful. The arbitrator's decision may not be appealed.
The initial June ruling found that the United States was non-compliant with technical barriers to trade due to mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) for selected fresh meat products.
The decision represents an extensive debate that representatives from the United States and Canadian livestock industries have addressed. Though supporters of the measure say it allows consumers to know where their food is sourced, opponents note that increased processing costs may not have a return on investment.
The original COOL legislation was passed as part of the 2002 Farm Bill and amended in 2008.
Reprinted in part from Farm Progress