Contributing Lawyers

Canada

Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

United States

Susan Kohn Ross

Australia

Andrew Hudson



The Canada-US Country of Origin Labelling Dispute at WTO Panel this Week

The WTO schedule shows that from September 14-16, 2010, a WTO Dispute Settlement Body Panel first substantive meeting regarding cases DS/384 "United States of America — Certain Country of Origin Labelling (Cool) Requirements" (Complainant: Canada) and DS/386 "United States of America — Certain Country of Origin Labelling Requirements" (Complainant: Mexico) will take place in Geneva. These cases involve the Canadian and Mexican challenges of U.S. mandatory country of origin labelling requirements for meat products.

At its meeting on 19 November 2009, the DSB established a single panel pursuant to Article 9.1 of the DSU, to examine this dispute and dispute DS386. Argentina, Australia, China, Colombia, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Peru and New Zealand reserved their third-party rights. Subsequently, Brazil, the European Communities, Guatemala and Chinese Taipei reserved their third-party rights. On 30 April 2010, Canada requested the Director-General to compose the panel. On 10 May 2010, the Director-General composed the panel.

Canada considers that the cited measures appear to be inconsistent with the United States' obligations under the WTO Agreement, including:

  • Articles III:4, IX:2, IX:4 and X:3 of GATT 1994;
  • Article 2 of the TBT Agreement, or, in the alternative, Articles 2, 5 and 7 of the SPS Agreement; and
  • Article 2 of the Agreement on Rules of Origin.

Mexico considers that the cited measures appear to be inconsistent with the United States' obligations under the WTO Agreement, including:

  • Articles III, IX and X of the GATT 1994;
  • Articles 2 and 12 of the TBT Agreement, or, in the alternative, Articles 2, 5 and 7 of the SPS Agreement; and
  • Article 2 of the Agreement on Rules of Origin.

The expected (but subject to change) schedule for the WTO cases, taken from the Ontario Port web-site is:

 

Milestone

Estimated Timeline

First Written Submission Due

June 23, 2010

First Substantive Meeting

September 2010

Second Written Submission Due

October 2010

Second Substantive Meeting

December 2010

Final Report of the Panel

July 2011

For a great summary about the case and many of the relevant documents, please go to the Ontario Pork web-site - http://www.ontariopork.on.ca/cms/en/Producers/COOL/COOL.aspx

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