WTO Releases 'COOL' Ruling
The World Trade Organization has issued a ruling against the United States. Today the WTO made its final ruling on Country of Origin Labeling (COOL). The Appellate Body has ruled in favor of Canada. The Panel determined that the COOL measure is inconsistent with the United States' WTO obligations. In particular, the Panel found that the COOL measure treats imported Canadian cattle and hogs less favorable than domestic products.
According to the Canadian Cattlemen's Association - the COOL issue has cost their industry more than 100-million dollars each year. The group says it has spent more than two-million Canadian dollars to support their government's case.
National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) Vice President Bob McCan issued the following statement.
"The World Trade Organization has been extremely clear that mandatory Country of Origin Labeling is a clear WTO violation. This most recent decision is very similar to the initial ruling made three months ago. Instead of working diligently to bring the United States into WTO compliance, we wasted three months and taxpayer dollars on an appeal process. This did nothing more than jeopardize our strong trade relationship with Canada and Mexico, the two largest importers of U.S. beef. The Obama Administration prolonged an issue that could have been resolved quickly.
"NCBA worked with Canada and Mexico to prevent any retaliatory action that could have occurred from the unfortunate decision made by the U.S. government to appeal the initial ruling.
"Cattlemen deserve a government that fights for and protects our opportunities. We need a government that not only demands WTO compliance of our trade partners but one that ensures the United States is abiding by these same guidelines. We are committed to working with this administration and Congress to find a permanent solution to this issue in order to bring the United States back into compliance. It is absolutely critical that the United States leads by example."
US Cattlemen's Association (USCA) President Jon Wooster issued the following statement.
"Much of this ruling is good news for U.S. cattle producers," said Jon Wooster, USCA President, San Lucas, California. "The WTO has affirmed the right of the U.S. to require country of origin labeling for meat and has reversed the dispute panel's findings that COOL violates Article 2.2 of the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement. The appellate panel took issue with specific implementation measures regarding how Canadian cattle are segregated and the burden this may impose. The findings relate only to technical details of the COOL implementation details. We are very pleased that these issues can be reasonably resolved through the regulatory process and will not require congressional action. USCA will be working closely with the Obama Administration to ensure that any steps taken to implement the WTO findings conform to the requirements of the COOL law and will continue to maximize the benefits of the law for consumers and producers."
The decision gives the United States time to comply and does not immediately alter the labeling rules.
© 2013 Rural Radio Network. All rights reserved. Republishing, rebroadcasting, rewriting, redistributing prohibited. Copyright Information