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Country of Origin Labelling Impacts US Pork Trade

by 5m Editor
21 April 2003, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1224. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

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Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork

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Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council
and Sask Pork.

Farm-Scape, Episode 1224

A Minnesota based Financial Consultant says the planned introduction of mandatory country of origin labelling already appears to be impacting US trade.

Country of Origin labelling of specific foods, including beef, pork, fruits and vegetable, is scheduled to become mandatory in the US in September 2004.

AgStar Financial Services Vice President Mark Greenwood says American producers are just beginning to recognize the potential costs and consequences of the legislation.

"The implications are is there's going to be a cost associated with verifying where that pig came from.

Whether or not it was born in the United States or is born in Canada, you're still going to have to do a form of process verification and there's going to be a cost associated with it that the US producer is going to have to bear.

The end result, he's not going to get any extra income for his product. Again, this is more my opinion but logically the way I look at it is if you try to protect our US market...

The US pork industry actually exports between seven to eight percent of our total pork supply.

Our two largest clients are, one is Japan, our second one is Mexico. Mexico is also affected in regards to country of origin labelling on the fruits and vegetable side since a fair amount of that product comes into the states. If all of a sudden we make it more difficult for them to do this process verification and cause extra costs on them, I think they're going to be more reluctant to buy our pork products.

Evidence of that is our pork exports to Mexico, I think, are down 19 percent year to date."

Greenwood says, if Country of Origin labelling becomes mandatory, there is likely to be considerable discussion related to fair trade under WTO and NAFTA. He suggests the provision might not even be legal.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor