Oklahoma’s Pork Producers Wait for WTO to Announce Retaliation Over COOLThu, 03 Dec 2015 18:03:02 CST
Oklahoma’s pork producers continue to wait for a ruling from the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law. This month, the WTO will issue the retaliation levels permitted by Canada and Mexico to execute. Canada and Mexico have said they are entitled to $3 billion in retaliation and the U.S. has claimed it’s only $90 million. Oklahoma Pork Council Executive Director Roy Lee Lindsey said that’s a big gap, so he thinks the next step by the U.S. Senate will be determined by the WTO’s retaliation levels.
“My guess is that if numbers are on the bottom end of that, if it’s closer to $90 million - the Senate’s going to remain reluctant to make many changes,” Lindsey said. “But if that number comes in closer to the top end, then I think the pressure on the Senate really gets ratcheted up to actually take a vote.”
The House of Representatives in June voted 300-131 to repeal COOL. The U.S. Senate has delayed taking a vote to repeal COOL until these retaliatory levels are released. In response to repealing COOL, Former Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow introduced legislation to make COOL, a voluntary program. Lindsey said Canada and Mexico have looked at the voluntary option and found it will not work either because it doesn’t meet trade agreement requirements and it discriminates against their product. If the U.S. tries to shift to a voluntary program, he believes Canada and Mexico will start their retaliation and the U.S. will be back in front of the WTO with a challenge over the voluntary program.
“This is just going to drag on forever,” Lindsey said. “The only way we’re going to avoid retaliation at this time is repealing Country of Origin Labeling.”
Retaliatory tariffs from Canada and Mexico will have an impact on Oklahoma’s pork producers. Lindsey said both countries know if they put retaliatory tariffs on pork, the U.S. pork industry will scream loud, beat on doors and walk the halls of Congress.
“So, if you’re trying to get something changed, do you put tariffs on things that don’t matter or do you put tariffs on the people that are going to scream the loudest,” Lindsey said. “I’d be floored if they don’t end up with tariffs on pork.”
Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays had both an "on camera" conversation with Lindsey as well as an "off camera" audio only interview as well. The "on camera" version will be aired as the weekly "In the Field" feature that is seen Saturday mornings at 6:40 AM on KWTV News9 during their morning news block that runs from 6 AM to 8 AM.
The audio conversation can heard in its entirety by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.
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