WTO ruled US origin labels broke trade regulations

WTO ruled US origin labels broke trade regulations

Canada and Mexico are to ask the World Trade Organization to impose "retaliatory measures" against the US as the row between the countries over American regulations on country-of-origin labels continues.

Three weeks after the WTO ruled US rules on origin labels for meat products broke trade regulations, Canada and Mexico - which had criticised the measures - are lining up around US$3bn in sanctions.

"In light of the WTO’s final decision and due to the fact that this blatantly protectionist measure remains in place, our governments ... are asking the WTO for a special dispute settlement body meeting to request retaliation rights against the United States, to take place on June 17," a joint statement from government ministers in Canada and Mexico read.

"Canada will request authorisation from the WTO to impose over C$3bn (US$2.42bn) in retaliatory measures against the US, while Mexico will seek authorization for over US$653m."

Canadian minister for international trade Ed Fast was one of the four ministers who issued the statement. A spokesperson for Fast said the two countries had yet to finalise which sectors upon which it would like the measures to be placed.

"We've yet to determine what the final retaliatory tariffs will look like. We're focused on getting authorisation on our dollar amount first, and then we'll determine how to implement our retaliation."

In response, a spokesperson for the Office of the US Trade Representative said Washington would "object to these requests at the appropriate time, referring the matter to WTO arbitration".

He added: "It is notable that neither Canada nor Mexico provided any justification for the numbers they asserted. We would also note that the annual values appear to be substantially inflated."