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NCBA and Congress Await WTO Final Ruling for COOL Before Repeal Begins

Fri, 24 Apr 2015 14:27:51 CDT

NCBA and Congress Await WTO Final Ruling for COOL Before Repeal Begins

During the 2014 Farm Bill debate, Texas Congressman Randy Neugebauer wanted to basically eliminate Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) for fresh meats. But Senate Democrats involved in the process, especially Senator Debbie Stabenow, former Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman, refused to allow Country of Origin Labeling to be touched during the 2014 Farm Bill negotiations. Democrats wanted to wait on the World Trade Organization (WTO) for their final ruling on whether COOL is trade distorting or not.   National Cattlemen's Beef Association Vice President of Government Affairs Colin Woodall said that moment is about to arrive.

"We know that the WTO is going to be issuing their next decision on the Canadian and Mexican lawsuit here probably in about two or three weeks," Woodall said. "We just need to see how the Administration will handle that and whether they will truly back off and let Congress fix this."

Assuming the WTO does issue a final ruling calling the COOL legislation trade distorting, Woodall said he believes Congress will step up and fix it.

"We do believe that they will, matter of fact they have already started on the House side to prepare for that," Woodall said. "It has become very clear that through everything we have been with in implementing COOL, seeing the details and the data of how COOL has been received and the costs associated with it and more importantly watching this WTO case playout, we have no doubt the only to fix this and to ensure there is no retaliation or additional costs to our industry is to repeal COOL for beef, pork and chicken. And the Chairman of the House Ag Committee, Congressman Conaway, agrees with us and we have a lot of members of the House that are in that same boat. They see that this thing has run its course, that it is a failed experiment and we just need to get rid of it."

Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays featured Woodall on the Beef Buzz feature. Click or tap on the LISTEN BAR below to listen to today's Beef Buzz.

All along the House has been more willing to take up and deal with COOL, while it has been a real sticking point in the Senate in waiting for the ruling from the WTO. Woodall said once this final ruling comes out he thinks COOL will finally get addressed in the Senate. He said a lot of Democrats have tied their support of COOL to the WTO process.

"So, I think once we get this final decision and we find out that retaliation by Canada and Mexico is imminent, then I think several of them will realize that ok - they're going to have to step up and actually fix this issue," Woodall said. "The Republicans are going to continue to push to say that the fix is repeal and it's not just Republicans. We have a lot of Democrats, on the House side in particular, who agree that repeal is the only way to get rid of it."

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.


Ron Hays Beef Buzzes with Colin Woodall of NCBA
right-click to download mp3


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