U.S. loses WTO appeal in meat labeling dispute: source

Reuters — The United States has lost its appeal against a World Trade Organization ruling ordering it to bring its meat labeling laws into line with global trade rules, according to a government official familiar with the dispute.

In 2011, Canada and Mexico won a WTO ruling that said the U.S. country-of-origin labeling (COOL) rules illegally discriminated against imported meat.

The U.S. lost a subsequent appeal and was instructed to comply with international rules. The U.S. government made changes to the COOL rule in 2013, but last October a WTO compliance panel said it had not done so, paving the way for Canada and Mexico to demand the right to impose trade sanctions.

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The U.S. then appealed that decision in November, but the government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the WTO had ruled in favour of Canada and Mexico.

A formal WTO announcement is due Monday.

Canada has said the U.S. rules, which make retailers list the country of origin on meat, cost its farmers and processors about $1 billion a year in lost sales and lower prices.

Reporting for Reuters by Dave Graham in Mexico City.

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