TORONTO - Canada said Thursday that it is considering retaliatory measures against the United States in a dispute over meat-labeling rules that Ottawa and the World Trade Organization consider discriminatory.
The Canadian government said that new U.S. country of origin labeling regulations announced Thursday that require tracking beef, chicken and hogs from livestock through the meat processing and distribution systems are unduly burdensome.
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Trade Minister Ed Fast said in a joint statement that rule means additional costs for producers on both sides of the border and increased damage to the industry.
"Canada will consider all options at its disposal, including, if necessary, the use of retaliatory measures," the statement said.
The Canadian Pork Council estimates the labeling rule has already cost Canada about $97 million annually in beef and pork exports.
The WTO said last year that the 2009 U.S country of origin rule discriminated against livestock from Canada and Mexico. Washington had until Thursday to ensure the labeling rule complied with trade obligations.