The World Trade Organization's (WTO) arbitration panel announced today its final ruling to authorize Canada and Mexico to assess over $1 billion in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products. This ruling is said to close the long running dispute over the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) requirements on livestock and meat imports.
The House Agriculture Committee on Agriculture Chairman K. Michael Conaway (R-TX) says, “We have known for some time that the Country of Origin Labeling law violates our international trade obligations.”
National Farmer Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson denounced the finding stating, “Today's decision to allow Canada and Mexico to impose $1.01 billion in retaliatory tariffs is yet another symptom of inefficiencies and ineffectiveness of the WTO…Time and again the WTO process has undermined U.S. sovereignty and the right of American consumers to know the origin of their food.”
Leaders from American agriculture groups are demanding Congress act quickly to pass voluntary COOL and effectively repeal COOL requirements for beef, pork and chicken.
National Cattleman's Beef Association President Philip Ellis says, “If the Senate does not act, U.S. beef exports will face a 100 percent tariff in these countries, severely diminishing about $2 billion of beef exports annually.”
The House Committee on Agriculture says that the governments of Canada and Mexico have stated repeatedly that enactment of legislation such as the June 10th bill to amend the Agriculture Marketing Act of 1946 will mitigate the need for any retaliatory actions towards the U.S.