Mexico’s Economy Ministry announced that it was considering the suspension of trade tariffs with the United States over various products as the two countries disagree on the new US meat labeling regulation. The dispute came from the 2009 requirement the United States implemented on retail outlets to specify where meat and other products originate. The US said that the effort was to give consumers more data about the safety and the origin of the product.
Mexico and Canada filed a compliant with the World Trade Organization. They complained that the country of origin labeling or COOL regulations discriminated against imported livestock. The WTO ordered the United States to comply with its rules by May 23. The US made revisions that both Mexico and Canada said made the situation worse than before.
Canada said that the labels added costs and encouraged packers based in the United States to import less Canadian livestock. This led to Canadian farmers going out of business.
Canada and Mexico are now trying to get the support of the WTO. The Mexican Economy Ministry said that if the US government is found to be violating WTO rules, then Mexico will react. The ministry released a statement that it was considering suspending preferential tariffs for a wide variety of products such as juice, fruits, vegetables, meat, furniture, machinery, and household goods.
Canada wants to implement new tariffs on US imports as a retaliation against the meat labeling requirement. Canada is going to ask the WTO to approve the new tariffs, which is a process that will take around 18 to 24 months. This was according to Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and International Trade Minister Ed Fast.
Once the WTO approves Canada’s request, the country wants to impose tariffs on US pork, beef, cattle, live hogs, apples, cherries, and corn. Non-food items such as mattresses and wooden office furniture would also be imposed with the new tariff.