by SUSAN MANN
The United States has until March 23 to decide whether to adopt or appeal a World Trade Organization ruling that its Country of Origin Labelling system is unfair.
The WTO extended the deadline Jan. 5. Previously, the United States had 60 days from the time the ruling was released in November to decide. That deadline was Jan. 18.
Canada, Mexico and the United States requested the deadline be extended to “take into account the current workload of the Appellate Body,” a WTO press release says.
The WTO ruling made public Nov. 18, 2011 supported Canada’s position that the United States’ Country of Origin Labelling provisions discriminate against live cattle and hog imports from Canada to the detriment of Canadian producers. The system came into effect in 2008.
The U.S. legislation requires retailers to inform consumers about the origin of certain foods, including beef, pork, lamb, chicken and goat. Animals with a U.S. country of origin label must have been born, raised and slaughtered there.
In 2009, Canada and Mexico requested a WTO panel review the U.S. legislation. BF