Abitibi, Newfoundland compare paper cuts
Dr. Russell Williams, graduate coordinator at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, predicts in the news today that AbitibiBowater has a good case if it does eventually challenge the Newfoundland government under NAFTA for expropriation. But he’s careful to point out he doesn’t agree with the process – Chapter 11 – by which the American company can sue for compensation.
“It’s a reason why as members of the public we should be demanding that NAFTA be changed, that Chapter 11 is a bad system, and it’s unfair to citizens who control their natural resources,” he said. Read more here: http://www.gfwadvertiser.ca/index.cfm?sid=245822&sc=291
To read the company’s press release, in which it spells out its potential NAFTA claim: http://www.bowater.com/media/latest-news.aspx?id=636&detail=true&reqid=1279914.
AbitibiBowater and the Newfoundland government, which claims the company broke a century-old covenant by closing its mill in Grand Falls—Windsor.
Canada’s beef with U.S. labeling rules
According to the Globe and Mail today, “Ottawa is taking the United States to the World Trade Organization over a new food labelling law that threatens tens of millions of dollars worth of Canadian hog and cattle exports, marking Canada’s first formal trade fight with the Obama administration.”
At issue, continues the article, “is a new U.S. country-of-origin labelling, or COOL, law, which forces U.S. food companies to carefully track and disclose to consumers all the foreign-sourced ingredients in their products.” That has led to several U.S. pork producers, “to stop buying Canadian hogs or gradually phase out such purchases. The four companies account for more than half of all pork sold in the United States.”
But U.S. consumers and farmers feel people should know where their food comes from. Fruit and vegetables are labeled in the grocery store. Why not meat?
It’s a good point that most Canadians would recommend at home. The trend in municipalities and provinces across Canada is toward local food production and consumption. Does it make sense to be shipping young animals to the United States for the mass production of meat?
If the U.S. labeling law is protectionism, as International Trade Minister Stockwell Day says it is, then it’s protectionism I think we can all live with. Eating less meat and eating local meat would cancel the impact of the U.S. law while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. And it tastes better too.
International Trade Minister Stockwell Day was in Washington, D.C. this week to meet with U.S. officials and plug economic cooperation at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Day and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk see eye to eye on leaving NAFTA as it is, and the need to sign new free trade pacts with the repressive regime in Colombia. Photo Courtesy of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.