Senate Action on COOL Must Appease Canada and Mexico

Jul 31, 2015

By Bruce Cochrane

The National Pork Producers Council warns, unless action taken by the U.S. Senate addresses Canadian and Mexican concerns over Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling, retaliatory tariffs are imminent.

Last week, two proposals were introduced in the U.S. Senate to address concerns over Mandatory COOL, one which would repeal labeling requirements for beef, pork and poultry, and one which would replace mandatory labeling with a voluntary program that would require labels to detail where animals were born, raised and slaughtered to be considered domestic meat.

Canada's agriculture minister has stated, the only way for the U.S. to avoid retaliation is for the Senate to follow the lead of the U.S. House of Representatives and put forward legislation that repeals COOL once and for all.

Nick Giordano, the vice present and council for global government affairs with the National Pork Producers Council, stresses the World Trade Organization has no further interest in U.S. attempts to fix the legislation.

Nick Giordano-Pork Producers Council:
The U.S. has lost four times in Geneva.
The WTO has ruled.

The U.S. day in court is over.
We're at a stage in the WTO proceeding here which would be analogous in U.S. civil litigation to the sentencing phase.

The only thing the WTO is going to decide is the level of retaliation and once the WTO authorizes Canada and Mexico to retaliate, that retaliation can stay in place until Ottawa and Mexico City deem the United States to be in compliance.

Although the United States could seek a WTO ruling on voluntary labeling, that process could take as long as two years, and Canada and Mexico would be free to maintain retaliatory tariffs pending a decision.

Source: Farmscape

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