Trade war with U.S. likely averted: American bill would repeal meat labels

WASHINGTON -- A trade war between Canada and the U.S. appears to have been averted.

The U.S. Congress has drafted legislation that responds to Canadian and Mexican demands on meat labelling, the subject of a dispute at the World Trade Organization.

See Full Article

The bill would repeal mandatory country-of-origin labelling on beef and pork, should it pass a vote in the coming days.

That provision is embedded in two pages of a monster 2,000-page bill crafted in marathon negotiations between Republican and Democratic leaders.

Canada and Mexico had been poised to immediately impose $1 billion in tariffs on a wide range of American products including wine and frozen orange juice following wins at the WTO.

Canada's ambassador to the U.S., Gary Doer, welcomed the news but said he wouldn't be celebrating until the bill passes both chambers of Congress and gets signed by the president.

Votes on the bill could happen later this week, or early next week.

Supporters of country-of-origin labelling say consumers deserve to know where their meat comes from. Opponents say it doesn't do anything for safety -- for which there are inspections.

Those critics call it a thinly disguised protectionist measure, designed to complicate importing meat from abroad into the U.S. They say Canadian meat exports plummeted as a result of decade-old country-of-origin labelling rules.

John Masswohl of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association pointed to the example of Tyson Foods. He said Canada used to export beef to four of its U.S. facilities, and now exports to only two -- and only on one day per week, so that it can segregate Canadian cows from American ones and apply the proper country-of-origin labels.

"We think this is going to have a huge impact," Masswohl said in an interview Wednesday.

"And it could have a pretty immediate impact in terms of the prices we receive."

The bill lifts beef and pork from the list of products subject to country-of-origin labelling requirements. But that's only one provision in a major piece of legislation that will keep the U.S. government funded.

It might be most remembered in the U.S. for another provision: a relaxing of the 40-year-old quasi-total ban on oil exports from the U.S., imposed amid the energy scare of the 1970s.

That provision could have a huge impact on American energy exports, not to mention a trickle-down effect on the U.S.'s biggest oil supplier: Canada.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Bank of Canada stands pat again, keeps key interest rate at 0.5%

    Economic CBC News
    The Bank of Canada has decided to keep its benchmark interest rate where it is, citing a possible slowdown of the economy. While the economy gained steam through the last half of 2016, it predicts a slowdown ahead, which is why it has decided to keep its benchmark interest rate where it is for now. Source
  • ECB seen expanding stimulus amid Trump, Italy uncertainties

    Economic CTV News
    FRANKFURT -- Faced with weak growth and inflation across the 19-country eurozone, the European Central Bank is expected to extend its stimulus program for at least another six months when it concludes its latest policy meeting on Thursday. Source
  • Average Canadian now owes $22,081, but we're managing to pay it off

    Economic CBC News
    The average Canadian now owes $22,081 in consumer debt, a figure that doesn't include any mortgages, debt monitoring firm Equifax says. In a report released Wednesday, Equifax says the debt figure increased by 3.6 per cent in the third quarter of 2016 compared to the same period a year ago. Source
  • Pfizer fined for hiking epilepsy drug price 2,600 per cent in U.K.

    Economic CTV News
    LONDON -- British regulators fined U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and distributor Flynn Pharma a record 89.4 million pounds ($112.7 million) Wednesday for increasing the cost of an epilepsy drug by as much as 2,600 per cent. Source
  • PrivateBancorp delays shareholder vote on takeover deal with CIBC

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- PrivateBancorp Inc. is delaying a shareholder vote on a proposed takeover of the company by Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (TSX:CM) that was set for Thursday. The U.S. bank, which says it remains committed to the deal, says a new date for the meeting is expected to be set for early in the first quarter of next year. Source
  • Thousands of Bangladesh kids working 64 hours a week: study

    Economic CTV News
    DHAKA, Bangladesh -- Thousands of Bangladeshi children who live in the capital's slums are working illegally for an average of 64 hours a week, with many employed by the garment industry making clothing for top global brands, according to a report released Wednesday. Source
  • Dollarama reports third-quarter profit and sales up from year ago

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Dollarama Inc. (TSX:DOL) saw its third-quarter profit grow to nearly $110.1 million compared with nearly $100.1 million in the same quarter a year ago. The retailer says the profit amounted to 92 cents per diluted share, up from 78 cents per diluted share a year a year ago when it had more shares outstanding. Source
  • NHL to move to new 67-storey tower on Manhattan's west side

    Economic CTV News
    NEW YORK -- The National Hockey League is moving its headquarters to a 67-storey office tower under construction on Manhattan's west side. Developer Brookfield Property Partners announced Wednesday the NHL will move from its current location in midtown to the tower that will be known as One Manhattan West. Source
  • EU fines 3 banks $520 million over rate market rigging

    Economic CTV News
    BRUSSELS -- European Union regulators on Wednesday fined banks JPMorgan Chase, HSBC and Credit Agricole a combined $520 million for colluding to manipulate the price of financial products linked to interest rates. EU antitrust Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the banks illegally exchanged sensitive information and colluded to make big profits in the market on the specialized financial products. Source
  • Consumer debt and delinquency rates climb in third quarter: Equifax

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO - A new Equifax Canada report says low interest rates and falling oil prices drove up consumer debt and delinquency rates in the third quarter. The credit reporting agency found that average debt increased by 3.6 per cent to $22,081 in the quarter ended Sept. Source