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AG GROUPS PUSH FOR COOL REPEAL IN WAKE OF WTO RULING

July 07, 2015

Mary Johnson
(334) 235-1406

The Alabama Farmers Federation and other agricultural groups are asking Congress to repeal the current Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) rules in response to a May World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling against the U.S.

Agricultural groups including the Alabama Farmers Federation and American Farm Bureau are asking Congress to repeal mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) on beef, pork and chicken.

The requests are in response to a May World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling that said the current U.S. COOL regulations violate trade obligations and impose unfavorable treatment on meat from Canada and Mexico.

“Now that the WTO has passed a final ruling, Congress must act quickly to repeal COOL and avoid retaliation,” said Mitt Walker, National Legislative Programs director for the Alabama Farmers Federation. “Canada and Mexico are already seeking restitution from the U.S. in the form of tariffs on imported goods. While Federation policy supports country-of-origin labels, we must find a better solution that does not violate WTO rules.”

Current COOL regulations require labels on meat that identify where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered.

On June 10, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 300 to 131 to fully repeal COOL on beef, pork and chicken products. A similar measure has been introduced in the U.S. Senate. However, a second proposal from Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, would remove COOL requirements on beef and pork only and add a voluntary “Product of the U.S.” label.

Congress was on recess last week, and the Senate has not yet taken up the COOL regulations.

Timeline

  • June 29 - Mexico requests the WTO to authorize imposing $713 million in tariffs on U.S. exports in retaliation to COOL.
  • June 25 - U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee holds COOL hearing.
  • June 24 - U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, releases draft proposal to remove beef and pork mandatory COOL labeling and replace it with a voluntary “Product of the U.S.” label.
  • June 17 - Canada requests the WTO to authorize imposing $2.6 billion in tariffs per year on U.S. exports in retaliation to COOL. The U.S. seeks WTO arbitration regarding Canada’s requests.
  • June 10 - U.S. House of Representatives passes a bill to fully repeal COOL requirements for beef, pork and chicken products.
  • May 18 - WTO rules in favor of Mexico and Canada in a U.S. appeal to maintain current COOL rules.

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