Lost fourth appeal to WTO on May 19
By Diego Flammini, Farms.com
A day after the World Trade Organization (WTO) denied America’s COOL (Country Of Origin Labelling) measures for the fourth time, the House Agriculture Committee is moving quickly to have COOL repealed and is introducing a bill to start the process.
Country of origin labelling requires meat packaging to disclose where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered. However, because some ground meat packaging contains product from Mexico and Canada, it’s extremely difficult to differentiate between them.
Mike Conaway, House Agriculture Committee Chairman said the bill will remove any uncertainties, provide stability and bring the United States back into good standing with the WTO.
Other Commissioners of Agriculture have weighed in and support the repealing of the COOL requirements.
“In order to avoid a major trade war between the United States and two of our biggest trading partners, I encourage Congress to act immediately to repeal the mandatory country of origin labeling rules for certain cuts of meat,” said Sid Miller, Agriculture Commissioner for Texas.
“Expeditious, corrective action is needed regarding the Country of Origin Labeling law as any delay could prove to be extremely costly to the United States and specifically to Nebraska,” said the state’s Agriculture Commissioner Greg Ibach.
Canada and Mexico have fought against the labels, calling them discriminatory.
Canada has even called on the WTO to allow for taxes and tariffs to be put on certain products being exported to the United States. The WTO sided with Canada and Mexico saying those labelling requirements put their livestock at a disadvantage.
The Canadian livestock industry estimates the annual losses due to COOL are around $1 billion.
Tell us your thoughts about the WTO siding with Canada and Mexico when it comes to COOL. What is your opinion about the response the United States is taking on this issue?