WASHINGTON – The World Trade Organization extended by two months the deadline given to the United States, Canada and Mexico to decide whether to appeal a November ruling that found the US country-of-origin labeling provisions unfairly hurt agricultural commerce, according to the Jan. 6 edition of the National Chicken Council’s Washington Report.

March 23 is the deadline set for these countries to challenge the judges’ finding that US requirements for food processors to identify the nations from which cattle, hogs, chicken, and some fresh produce originate break global trade rules, the WTO said last week.

Canada and Mexico charge the provisions impose unfair costs on their exports, thus reducing their competitiveness. Both countries issued their complaints in December 2008, disputing provisions of the US Food, Conservation and Energy Act that imposes mandatory country-of-origin labeling for beef, pork, chicken, lamb and goat, as well as some perishables sold by American retailers.