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US loses WTO appeal in meat labelling dispute: source

The World Trade Organization cut its forecasts for global goods trade on Wednesday after quarterly growth turned negative, with trade shrinking by an average of 0.7 per cent in the first two quarters of this year.

[NEW YORK] The United States has lost its appeal against a World Trade Organisation ruling ordering it to bring its meat labeling laws into line with global trade rules, according to a government official familiar with the dispute.

In 2011, Canada and Mexico won a WTO ruling that said the US country-of-origin labeling (COOL) rules illegally discriminated against imported meat.

The United States lost a subsequent appeal and was instructed to comply with international rules. But last October the WTO said it had not done so, paving the way for Canada and Mexico to demand the right to impose trade sanctions.

The United States then appealed that decision in November, but the government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the WTO had ruled in favour of Canada and Mexico.

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A formal WTO announcement is due on Monday.

Canada has said the US rules, which make retailers list the country of origin on meat, cost its farmers and processors about US$1 billion a year in lost sales and lower prices.