OCA's Michael Kelsey Urges Senate to Repeal COOL to Avoid Retaliation From Mexico and CanadaTue, 08 Dec 2015 16:22:13 CST
As expected the World Trade Organization (WTO) released their retaliation number against the United States over the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law. The WTO ruled that Canada and Mexico can retaliate against U.S. good and services, as COOL has been ruled to be out of compliance by the WTO.
There are agricultural groups that are urging the U.S. Senate to move quickly and repeal COOL once and for all. Other groups responded in saying that the WTO numbers were flawed. The reality is that those numbers are going to be used for retaliation against the U.S. in totaling over $1 billion annually. This includes over $780 million U.S. dollars from Canada and $227 million from Mexico. Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) Executive Vice President Michael Kelsey says there’s no more time for negotiation. It’s time for the U.S. Senate to respond to this very stiff punishment of a billion dollars of tariffs a year against the United States.
“I think we all knew this was coming, the exact number was debatable,” Kelsey said. “It was going to be big and here it is.”
Mexico and Canada are among the nation’s four largest trading partners. With this announcement, Canada and Mexico now have the opportunity to retaliate against the U.S. products. Kelsey said it’s now up to the Senate to move quickly in order to prevent these retaliatory measures against the U.S. He commended the efforts of Senate Agricultural Committee Chair Pat Roberts of Kansas in trying to move forward with repeal, but progress has been slowed by Senate Agricultural Committee Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. Earlier this year, she introduced a voluntary COOL program. Kelsey hopes Senator Stabenow will quite dragging her feet, so the Senate can repeal COOL. He said the U.S. beef industry is worried cattle prices will continue to trend lower.
Some agricultural groups have openly disagreed with the retaliatory figures released by Canada and Mexico. Kelsey said he didn't have any reason not to believe the damage estimates. In terms of trading products, he believes there are a lot more effective ways to label U.S. beef products.
"Our industry has proven that with labeling, to do so appropriately where it's a win-win for everybody rather than a lose-lose almost in this case," Kelsey said.
Kelsey said the beef industry has seen a lot of ways to label product, but he has found COOL has not been an effective labeling program and it's time to more forward.
"So, let's drop this, let's get rid of it and then look at ways to do so more effectively where it's a win-win for everybody," Kelsey said.
Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays featured Kelsey on the Beef Buzz feature. Click or tap on the LISTEN BAR below to listen to today's Beef Buzz.
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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