Canadian threats of retaliatory tariffs for U.S. apples and cherries remain on the table as federal officials in North America mull a ruling by the World Trade Organization expected to be made public next month.
The ruling — which anonymous sources say is against the U.S., according to Wall Street Journal — has already been provided to government officials in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Officials in all three countries have repeatedly said they will not discuss it until the final translations are made public.
Canada formally challenged the U.S. law on country-of-origin-labeling requirements for certain muscle cuts of meat after the World Trade Organization had already told the U.S. to revise it. The revision was worse than the original version, Canadian officials said in 2013, contending that the COOL requirements give an unfair advantage U.S. born, raised and slaughtered beef and pork.
When Canada filed its objections with the WTO, it also released a list of U.S. foods and other products — including fresh apples and cherries — that could be hit with retaliatory tariffs if the U.S. does not change its requirements for country-of-origin labels. The full list is available on the Web at tinyurl.com/CanadianThreats.
“Our government will continue to consult with stakeholders as we pursue a fair resolution of this issue through the WTO over the next 18 to 24 months. To respect Canada’s WTO obligations, our government will not act on these retaliatory measures until the WTO authorizes us to do so,” said the news release distributed June 7, 2013, by Canadian officials including the ministers of international trade and agriculture.
In 2013 the U.S. exported almost 162,000 tons or fresh apples to Canada at a value of $213 million, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service. In 2013 U.S. growers exported 26,253 tons of fresh cherries to Canada at a value of $131 million.
Mexican officials said last year they would consider retaliatory trade measures but did not specify what U.S. commodities might be included in those measures.