The World Trade Organization has reportedly made a decision on the case against the United States mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law by Canada and Mexico, but it may be some time yet before we hear what it is.
“Sometimes there are additional questions, additional information that needs to be provided,” says National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Associate Director of Legislative Affairs Kent Bacus. “There’s some speculation as to what that decision will look like but we won’t know until it’s made public by the WTO and the parties involved.” It may be September, in fact, before the final decision is announced.
Nevertheless, NCBA and other organizations concerned that the ruling will go against the United States have already asked Congress to be prepared to take immediate action to prevent trade retaliation on the part of Mexico and Canada. “Canada and Mexico have been pretty open that they are eager to implement retaliation on a vast number of goods, not just beef and pork, but a lot of other agricultural and manufactured goods,” said Bacus.
NCBA has long been opposed to mandatory COOL, which became law in the 2008 Farm Bill. “It’s ended up being a protectionist measure that’s caused two of our largest export markets to threaten serious retaliation against our products,” Bacus said. “This is not a food safety issue … it’s a marketing issue.”Interview with Kent Bacus, NCBA