US Congress repeals meat labelling law after facing Canadian retaliation

OTTAWA — A potential trade war between Canada and the United States was all but averted Friday when Congress passed a massive spending bill that also repealed a controversial meat labelling law.The 2,000-plus pages of legislation contained a two-page rider that scrapped the U.S. labelling law, known as COOL, which had become a major irritant among Canada, Mexico and the U.S.The World Trade Organization granted Canada and Mexico the right to impose $1 billion in punitive tariffs on various U.S. products after finding that COOL violated international trade rules.Trade war with U.S. likely averted, but Canada keeps retaliation on the tableWorld Trade Organization sides with Canada, Mexico in meat labelling dispute with U.S.International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland and Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay have said Canada was pressing Congress to scrap COOL or face the retaliatory tariffs.They were focusing on the Senate, where some Democrats supported COOL because of domestic political interests.Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, the Republican chair of the Senate’s powerful agriculture committee, said Friday he was relieved that COOL had been repealed and that the bill would soon land on President Barack Obama’s desk for signature.

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