Avoid potential Canadian retaliatory tariffs against the US.

Current Status:

In October the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled that US COOL rules discriminated against exports from Canada and Mexico. While this is the third time the WTO has ruled against COOL labelling, it is considered a comparatively decisive breakthrough. The US may appeal the ruling before the trade battle is finally resolved.

What RCC Did/Next Steps

  • RCC will continue to monitor and speak to this issue as it works its way through the WTO process.
  • Continue to liaise with Minister Ritz’s office.


  • COOL is a 2008 requirement under US law for American retailers to provide country of origin labelling on meat.
  • In 2009, the Canadian government launched a challenge to COOL. In 2011, the WTO ruled in Canada's favour, and a series of US appeals were launched.
  • On June 7, 2013 the Minister of Agriculture announced Canada’s intent to impose significant retaliatory tariffs on dozens of imports from the US in a retaliatory move against what it claims are unfair and protectionist trade practices.
  • A complete list of proposed tariffs on imports was published in the Canada Gazette for public consultation in June of 2013. Products targeted for retaliation included food, alcohol, jewellery and furniture.
  • RCC participated in these consultations and objected to the imposition of these tariffs.
  • In May of 2014, Minister Ritz appeared in the media calling on the Mexican government to dial up the pressure by releasing its own list of US products it might target with tariffs.
  • In October the WTO again ruled in Canada’s favour. The US is expected to appeal.
  • The long WTO process (involving several levels of panel hearings and appeals) suggests that any retaliatory measures would not take effect until well into 2015, leaving open the potential for a settlement.
  • The recent election of a Republican majority in the US Senate is likely favorable to a speedy resolution.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact: Jason McLinton, Senior Director, Public Affairs at: [email protected] or 613-656-7903