Country of origin labelling (COOL) of meat is an example of this, as it has been challenged by Canada and Mexico as an illegitimate barrier to trade. Earlier this year, the WTO ruled in its favour again after rejecting a fourth US call to maintain labelling requirements. Canada has since threatened to impose high tariffs. A U.S. company could even close its plant in the U.S. and move it to another country to use cheaper products and labor. Woodall said it happened when NAFTA was debated and passed. General Mills` Green Giant closed its plant in Watsonville, California, prior to the passage of NAFTA, and relocated that production to northern Mexico, impacting production and agriculture in California`s Central Valley. However, many large food companies, including Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, Coca-Cola Co., Kraft, Mondelez International and Monsanto, and industry organizations, including the American Meat Institute, the International Dairy Foods Association and the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, all members of the US coalition for TPP, do not believe otherwise. International trade agreements can also have a significant influence on the price and marketing of tobacco products. Over the past decade, there has been a trend towards the abolition of tobacco monopolies due by the State in favour of private tobacco companies, which can compete for market shares in a country. This trend has been accompanied by increased demand for tobacco, fuelled by lower prices and increased marketing.
Monopolies still account for more than 40% of global tobacco sales, although more than two-thirds of this volume is due to the Chinese monopoly. In countries where tobacco is state-owned, monopoly import taxes generally drive foreign tobacco brands away from the market. However, China`s recent accession to the World Trade Organization has lowered tariffs on foreign brands, significantly reducing the price gap between local and foreign brands. The Chinese government has also changed the legislation on the distribution of foreign cigarettes in China. Previously, retailers had to apply for two licenses for the sale of cigarettes, one for domestic products and the other for foreign brands. Today, retailers only need a license to sell both local and foreign brands, making it easier for foreign companies to access the market. Future trends in tobacco consumption, particularly in South-East Asia, the Middle East and parts of the African continent where production monopolies remain, are likely to be influenced by trade agreements that allow private tobacco multinationals to enter the market and compete with state-owned tobacco companies. These agreements can have repercussions on domestic producers both in terms of jobs and prices, especially when the agreement is concluded with a country with an important agricultural system and which depends on the weak environment and low labour costs.
This can translate into a flood of low-cost products, meat, seafood and other products from other countries, which may be less safe and of lower quality than U.S. products, but are still bought because they are the cheaper option, Woodall said. Nevertheless, international trade agreements have been concluded to facilitate trade in irradiated food. The World Trade Organization (WTO), created in 1995 to succeed the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), is the only international organization in the world to deal with liberalization and the removal of barriers to trade between nations. . . .