NCBA's Colin Woodall Says Congress Needs to Repeal COOL Quickly or Retaliation InevitableTue, 19 May 2015 12:44:29 CDT
The World Trade Organization has once again ruled a U.S. Country-of-Origin Labeling rule for meat, noncompliant with international trade obligations. This ruling was widely expected and will likely result in retaliation by Canada and Mexico against the United States products, costing the U.S. economy potentially billions of dollars.
With this final WTO ruling, National Cattlemen's Beef Association Lead Lobbyist Colin Woodall said one or two things will happen. He said either Congress will fix the rule through repeal of COOL or the U.S. will be retaliated against.
"It basically comes down to who acts first," Woodall said. "Will Congress act first or will the WTO provide the authorization to Canada and Mexico first. That's the clock we are running against. We do expect to see legislation introduced by the House Ag Committee this week that would repeal COOL for beef, pork and chicken and we expect a vote as soon as they get back after Memorial Day recess and then the pressure will be on the Senate to get something done retaliation starts."
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.
A wide variety of products will be on the retaliation list. Woodall said this includes everything from fruits, vegetables, ethanol, wine to manufactured goods like furniture. The items on the retaliation list from both countries don't have to be the same items.
"They will look at the list of authorized items and basically they will try to determine what hurts the U.S. economy the most," Woodall said. "That is their goal is to make it so hard on the United States that we fix it. We, as U.S. producers, can't afford to suffer through that, so we have to fix it before the Canadians and Mexicans launch their retaliation."
This latest WTO ruling was widely expected, so Canada and Mexico are fully prepared to retaliate as fast as the WTO will allow. Canada has released their list of items they will retaliate against and Mexico will likely release their list very soon. Woodall said Congress needs to get ahead of this, as retaliation could happen by the end of July into the fall. He said Congress is on a deadline as they have about five weeks in August and September that they are away from Washington D.C.
"We need them to act as quickly as possible, they can't wait until the last minute in order to try to fix this," Woodall said. "They have to fix it now, so that way the WTO can review it, Canada, Mexico can review it and hopefully we can stop this retaliation."
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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