Take stock – April 28

Canada will file a complaint with the World Trade Organization about a U.S. country-of-origin meat-labelling law. International Trade Minister Stockwell Day says he informed Ron Kirk, the top U.S. trade representative, about Canada’s WTO challenge today during a meeting in Washington.

Canada issues challenge of U.S. meat labelling law: Day

Canada will file a complaint with the World Trade Organization about a U.S. country-of-origin meat-labelling law. International Trade Minister Stockwell Day says he informed Ron Kirk, the top U.S. trade representative, about Canada’s WTO challenge today during a meeting in Washington.

The complaint will be filed in Geneva in the coming days. Canadian cattle and livestock associations have been complaining bitterly about the so-called COOL law since it took effect in mid-March. Canada sells most of its meat to the U.S. They estimate the legislation has cost the cattle industry $400 million, while live hog exports to the U.S. have dropped by 40 per cent due to the stringent regulations. It’s also created a glut of meat on the store shelves in Canada, meaning lower prices for producers. The industry has been pushing Ottawa to revive the WTO challenge for weeks, complaining that the labelling law amounts to a non-tariff trade barrier.

More banks move to lower residential mortgage rates

More Canadian banks lowered their mortgage rates on Monday following a historic rate cut last week by the Bank of Canada. TD Canada Trust (TSX:TD) dropped its residential mortgage rates between 0.1 and 0.6 percentage points, bringing the signpost five-year closed mortgage rate down 0.2 points to 5.25 per cent. Scotiabank (TSX:BNS) lowered its rates by between 0.3 and 0.2 per cent. Its five-year closed mortgage rate is now also 5.25 per cent. Laurentian Bank (TSX:LB) dropped its rates by between 0.25 and 0.4 per cent. Its five-year closed rate is also 5.25 per cent, a drop of 0.2 per cent. The moves are in line with those of Bank of Montreal (TSX:BMO) and Royal Bank (TSX:RY), both of whom lowered fixed rates last week on the heels of a Bank of Canada overnight rate cut. Last Tuesday the central bank took the overnight target rate to 0.25 per cent, the lowest level practical and committed to keep it there for a year.