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  • U.S. meat labeling regulations that Mexico and Canada oppose apply to beef and pork products.

    U.S. meat labeling regulations that Mexico and Canada oppose apply to beef and pork products. | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 June 2015

Mexico and Canada say U.S. meat labeling regulations unfairly discriminate against their products, making them more expensive.

Mexico and Canada are calling on the World Trade Organization to impose $3 billion in sanctions against the United States over its contentious meat labeling rules, which the two countries say unfairly discriminate against imported meat from their countries.

The retaliatory move responds to what Mexico and Canada call a “blatantly protective measure” introduced in the U.S. in 2009, which requires retailers to include information about where beef and pork products were born, raised, and slaughtered in the name of providing more transparency for consumers.

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​Mexico and Canada argue that the mandatory country-of-origin labeling rules, called COOL, make their products more expensive than U.S. domestic meats and are “a violation of the United States' international trade obligations,” according to a joint statement.

Last month, the WTO ruled in favor of Mexico and Canada, saying that U.S. COOL regulations discriminate against meat imports from Mexico and Canada.

Consumer groups have argued in favor of COOL as being in the U.S. public interest.

Mexico and Canada continue to pressure the U.S. to repeal its COOL rules, which legislators have indicated they are considering, according to Reuters.

"The governments of Mexico and Canada will keep working closely to resolve this important commercial dispute with the United States, with an aim to defend our farmers and breeders and maintain jobs and economic prosperity in all of North America," the Agricultural Ministries of Mexico and Canada said in a joint statement.

Mexico and Canada are set to meet with the WTO on June 17.

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