It could be high time for retaliatory beef tariffs

The weather, and the relation ship between the Canadian beef industry-producing sector and its American counterparts continues to be COOL.

The weather, and the relation ship between the Canadian beef industry-producing sector and its American counterparts continues to be stuck on COOL as a May 23 deadline requiring that the U.S. reissue the COOL law in a format that will comply with world-trade regulations (World Trade Organization ruling) has yet to materialize.

That failure prompted a news release by the Canadian government (June 7) delivered by Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade/Asia-Pacific Gateway and Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture-Agri-Food/Canadian Wheat Board, stating that Canada will release a list of U.S. commodities facing possible tariff-retaliation as a direct response to U.S. noncompliance.

Wow, tough talk, for us as a nation — one that often seems to just lay down on the butcher block and meekly accept all blows delivered by the (U.S.) meat-mallet.

So saying, I’ll bet the average Canadian beef-producer (particularly those who care not a whit for political-correctness) cheered heartily, in total agreement that it was high time for retaliatory-beef-tariffs.

That may be viewed as a politically naive reaction, but most feel strong action is key to highlight the discriminatory (steep) price-discounts tacked on Canadian beef-products (result of COOL) shipped/sold south of the 49th parallel.

A comment by an unknown site visitor to an online beef discussion forum (Piggy @ meatingplace.com) echoes the thoughts of many in the beef-sector, “COOL was just a ploy to try and increase the price of U.S. cattle by throwing road blocks in front of feeder cattle from Mexico and Canada as well as choice finished cattle from Canadian feedlots.”

The proposed (Canada) retaliatory-tariff product list includes live bovine animals, meat of bovine animals (fresh/chilled/frozen), live swine, meat of swine (fresh/chilled/frozen) and cuts of offal (fresh/chilled) of spent fowl.

It was noted that we (Canada) would not act on these measures without WTO approval, so the ball is in their court.

Liz Twan is a rancher and freelance columnist for the Tribune.