January 19, 2018

U.S. Appeals WTO COOL Ruling

The United States has appealed the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling on country of origin labeling (COOL) about labeling meat products that are imported. COOL has been in the news for years ever since the program began in the 2008 Farm Bill. USDA released a final rule in May 2013, requiring that meat labels include where the animal was born, raised, and slaughtered.

GavelsCanada and Mexico promptly appealed the rule to the WTO, threatening to retaliate with possible trade tariffs. In 2012, WTO ruled against COOL in April and June, saying that it unfairly discriminates against Mexico and Canada because of record keeping and verification requirements. WTO ruled against COOL for a third time in October 2014. The U.S. appeal is within the 60-day appeal time period.

Canadian Ministers Ed Fast and Gerry Ritz released a statement on the appeal, saying, “Canada is deeply disappointed with the U.S. decision to appeal the WTO ruling on COOL. Canada fully expected the United States to live up to its international trade obligations and comply with the WTO ruling, which reaffirms Canada’s long-standing view that the revised U.S. COOL measure is blatantly protectionist and fails to comply with the WTO’s original ruling against it.”

Consumers in the United States overwhelmingly favor the labels. And food safety advocates believe that consumers have the right to know where the food they buy comes from. Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch has said that the WTO’s ruling undermines basic consumer protections.

Canada will impose retaliatory tariffs against the $52 billion worth of foods they import from the U.S.  Some of those products include California wines, corn, breads, cherries, Washington apples, and others.

 

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