The World Trade Organization has ruled on Country of Origin Labeling and that ruling is in support of complaints made by Canada and Mexico that COOL violates global trade rules and unjustly harms agricultural commerce. The WTO panel says that the U.S. COOL mandatory labeling law, which labels meat and other products on the store shelves with its country of origin, is too stringent and gives U.S. cattle and hog sales an unfair advantage over imports from Mexico and Canada.
Canadian cattle shipments to the United States have fallen by more than half, and hog exports to the United States are down 40 percent so far in 2011 from the volume three years ago.
Colin Woodall, Vice President of Government Affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association called this – a strong ruling from the WTO that shows far-reaching implications from COOL for two of the most important trade partners for U.S. agriculture.
The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) says the decision by the WTO panel affirms the right of the United States to require country of origin labeling for meat products, but the dispute panel disagreed with specifics of how the U.S. designed the implementation of its requirements. USCA President Jon Wooster, San Lucas, CA says USCA remains committed to the COOL law.
Following the WTO ruling, the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office said it is considering all options, including an appeal.
Posted by Haylie Shipp