Brad Wall unhappy about American country-of-origin bill

Saskatchewan's premier says new U.S. labelling legislation is unfair and will hurt Saskatchewan meat producers.

New U.S. labelling legislation will hurt Saskatchewan meat producers, premier says

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is not happy about the passage of an American bill permitting country-of-origin labelling in the U.S.

The mandate forces U.S. companies to sort and label foreign meat differently from their own meat products.

Wall said the trade practice will hurt meat producers in his province.

"Industry has sort of being living with [these] provisions, even though they are hurtful, and frankly [it is] trying to diversify markets," Wall told CBC News.

In fact, producers say they are already dealing with the negative repercussions from U.S. country-of-origin labelling. Over the past five years, the Americans' separate labelling of Canadian products has cut Canada's meat exports to the U.S. in half.

President Barack Obama is expected to sign off on the new bill later this week, making the legislation official.

Wall said the provincial government is doing what it can to mitigate the loss to Saskatchewan producers.

"We're going to continue to diversify our markets. We're going to look to other places like Asia that are growing and that are interested in what we have to offer," Wall said.

The Premier also told CBC News that Saskatchewan would support the federal government's efforts to stop the bill, although he admitted its proponents outweigh Saskatchewan allies in the states.

In the past, the federal government has made it clear that it would retaliate against any country-of-origin labelling bill if it was passed.