Cattle and Hog Producers Wait on Decision on COOL- and What FollowsThu, 03 Jul 2014 07:37:19 CDT
A WTO compliance panel has issued a confidential "interim" decision to parties in the case that Canada and Mexico brought against U.S. Country-of-Origin Labeling rules. A finding that the labels constitute an unfair trade practice could lead to punitive tariffs on a multitude of American farm goods and other products exported to the two NAFTA partners. The contention of the US Government is that the labels tell U.S. consumers which countries their meat products come from and are legal under WTO rules.
The chair of the WTO panel has previously said a final report could be expected toward the end of July. The interim report gives the three parties one last chance to comment before the decision is made public.
USDA issued a final version of its new COOL rules in May 2013, just making a deadline set by the WTO for addressing the international body's earlier finding that the rules unfairly discriminated against livestock raised in Canada and Mexico. Instead of doing away with the labeling requirement, USDA responded by issuing new rules that demand even more information be put on labels, including the locations where each production step occurred.
Farm Director Ron Hays discusses these latest developments on COOL with the lead lobbyist of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, Colin Woodall. Woodall and the NCBA believe it is likely that the WTO will rule against the US in this latest challenge brought by two of our key trading partners, Mexico and Canada.
Woodall is our guest on today's Beef Buzz.
NCBA has joined over sixty other groups asking that Congress take action now and have in place instructions to the Administration to withdraw the COOL rule if the WTO finds that rule to be non compliant. In a letter to the House and Senate Ag Committee leadership, they write "We respectfully submit that it would be intolerable for the United States to maintain , even briefly, a rule that has been deemed non- compliant by the WTO. With little potential for quick Congressional action after a WTO final adjudication, we request that Congress authorize and direct the Secretary of Agriculture to suspend indefinitely the revised COOL rule for muscle cuts of meat upon a final adjudication of non-compliance with WTO obligations."
Click on the PDF link at the bottom of this story to read the full letter and see of the signers of the letter.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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