The World Trade Organization gave the United States, Canada, and Mexico an extra two months to decide whether to appeal a November ruling that found American country-of-origin labeling provisions unfairly hurt agricultural commerce. The three countries now have until March 23 to challenge judges’ finding that U.S. 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 in a statement yesterday.

Canada and Mexico argue that the provisions impose unfair costs on their exports, reducing their competitiveness.  They made their complaints in December 2008, disputing provisions of the U.S. 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.