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Canada to impose tariffs on U.S. food

Staff writer |
Canada warned that it may impose tariffs on a broad range of food, from beef to cheese to chocolate, if the United States doesn't change a meat-labeling policy.

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The U.S. policy, says Canadian beef and pork industries say, is costing more than CA$1 billion (US$979 million) a year.

The federal government released a long list of agriculture and other products that could be affected by Canada's retaliation in an ongoing dispute over U.S. country-of-origin meat-labeling rules. The regulations require tracking beef, chicken and hogs from livestock through the meat processing and distribution systems.

Canada's potential retaliation list includes U.S. cattle, pigs, beef, pork, cheese, pasta, some fruits and vegetables, chocolate and maple syrup. There are also some non-food items such as office furniture.

"Free and unfettered trade is a two-way street. These retaliatory measures, should we be forced to bring them into effect, will affect our producers and consumers on both sides of the border. It is by no means our preferred course of action, but we will continue to stand with Canadian hog and cattle producers against mandatory country-of-origin labeling," said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said at a news conference Friday.

"It is by no means our preferred course of action, but we will continue to stand with Canadian hog and cattle producers against mandatory country-of-origin labeling."

Ritz said if Canada follows through with the retaliatory measures, it would cost the U.S. money and jobs. He said that such tariffs could also mean that Canadian consumers would have to pay more for the products.

"We are hoping that this will bring enough pressure to the Americans to make the change before this ever has to be implemented."

The Canadian Pork Council estimates the labeling rule has already cost Canada about CA$1 billion annually in beef and pork exports.


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