Bloomberg News

Canada Premiers Urge More Talks With U.S. on Food-Labeling Rule

June 17, 2013

Canada’s western premiers want the federal government to seek a “common understanding” with the U.S. over stricter food-labeling rules before retaliating with tariffs on American imports.

“We would prefer people to come to a common understanding of how they will work on trade and allow goods and services to flow without protectionist measures either initiated or retaliated,” Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger said today at the Western Premiers Conference in Winnipeg. Retaliation “is the last resort,” he said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said on May 23 it will tighten country-of-origin labeling rules that specify where animals are born, raised and slaughtered, even after the World Trade Organization backed complaints from Canada and Mexico that challenged the policy.

Canadian officials say the rules may compound discrimination against livestock from Canada. The government has since released a list of products imported from the U.S. that may be targeted in retaliation for the labeling rules, including corn, cheese and beef.

Leaders of the western provinces want to be consulted before Canada proceeds with tariffs on U.S. imports, to ensure the policies do not cause irreparable harm to provincial economies, Selinger said.

Leaders of the western provinces and territories are in Winnipeg for the annual Western Premiers’ Conference, which includes representatives from Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jen Skerritt in Winnipeg at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at

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