NCBA Says Canada and Mexico Ready to Retaliate Over COOLWed, 26 Aug 2015 19:57:37 CDT
A meeting over U.S. Country-of-Origin Labeling will be held in mid-September in Geneva, Switzerland. Canada, Mexico and United States will be meeting with World Trade Organization officials over the level of retaliation that will be permitted. The U.S. has already lost its case over COOL several times.
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Vice President of Government Affairs Colin Woodall believes the only way out, is for total repeal of mandatory COOL. Over the last week, he has had meetings with the Canadians and Mexicans and nothing has changed.
“It is still very clear that they are not backing down, that they are going to pull on the trigger on retaliation,” Woodall said. “The question of course is, what monetary level will they be able to use?"
In a 41-page brief to the WTO, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) demonstrated that Canada and Mexico overstated their losses related to COOL. USTR determined that the maximum amount that Canada and Mexico could possibly claim as a result of the United States' implementation of mandatory COOL is less than $91 million annually. That’s much lower than the $4 billion impact claimed by Mexico and Canada combined. In analyzing the brief, Woodall said the USTR didn’t take into account the full impact.
“We have discovered in our review or analysis of that USTR submission, is that they were only looking at implementation at the retail level,” Woodall said. “They did not take into account all the other impacts on the chain."
Once the WTO sees that, Woodall thinks they will put their focus back on the retaliation figures submitted by both Canada and Mexico. NCBA thinks they can show that information to U.S. Senators, like U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow and begin to push for action quickly. Right now, Stabenow is still wanting to put a voluntary COOL program in statute. Woodall said that concept doesn’t have support from Canada or Mexico.
Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays featured Colin Woodall on the Beef Buzz feature. Click or tap on the LISTEN BAR below to listen to today's Beef Buzz.
In looking at Senator Stabenow’s efforts to establish a voluntary COOL program. Woodall said NCBA doesn’t think that can be done. He said the U.S. already has a voluntary program in place with a U.S. Department of Agriculture program, with a born and raised in the U.S. label.
“So, that authority exists, Senator Stabenow unfortunately is using this as a political play to try to maintain her position, but unfortunately all its going to do is lead to retaliation,” Woodall said.
Woodall said the only way to prevent retaliation from Mexico and Canada is by supporting efforts to repeal COOL. Earlier this year, the House passed a bill to repeal COOL and NCBA supports the bill being pushed by Senate Ag Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, which calls for full repeal of COOL for beef, pork and chicken.
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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