WTO Decision Rules Against COOL

Cindy ZimmermanAg Group, Beef, Government, NCBA, NPPC, Pork, Trade

cool-usdaThe United States’ Country of Origin labeling (COOL) is still not cool with the World Trade Organization (WTO).

In the compliance panel report released today, the WTO found that “the amended COOL measure violates Article 2.1 of the TBT Agreement because it accords to Canadian and Mexican livestock less favourable treatment than that accorded to like US livestock.”

In particular, the compliance panel concluded that the amended COOL measure increases the original COOL measure’s detrimental impact on the competitive opportunities of imported livestock in the U.S. market, because it necessitates increased segregation of meat and livestock according to origin; entails a higher recordkeeping burden; and increases the original COOL measure’s incentive to choose domestic over imported livestock.

ncba-logoNational Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Bob McCan of Texas says the expected ruling
“brings us all one step closer to facing retaliatory tariffs from two of our largest trading partners.”

McCan added that “NCBA has maintained that there is no regulatory fix to bring the COOL rule into compliance with our WTO obligations or that will satisfy our top trading partners. We look forward to working with Congress to find a permanent solution to this issue, avoiding retaliation against not only beef, but a host of U.S. products.”

nppcNational Pork Producers Council President Howard Hill urged the Obama administration and Congress to fix the law to avoid trade retaliation from Canada and Mexico.

“The United States must avoid retaliation from Canada and Mexico,” said Hill, a veterinarian and pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa. “Retaliatory tariffs on pork would be financially devastating to U.S. pork producers.”

Members of the COOL Reform Coalition held a press call and webinar to respond to the announcement.