ASA responds as WTO issues COOL ruling; calls on USDA to suspend COOL rule

Farm Forum

WASHINGTON – In response to the ruling from the World Trade Organization that finds the United States’ implementation of mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) for imported meat to be noncompliant with WTO rules, American Soybean Association President Ray Gaesser of Corning, Iowa, has released the following statement:

“This morning’s decision from the WTO only solidifies what we in the industry already knew to be true: that mandatory country of origin labeling in its current state is an unworkable burden on soybean farmers’ largest customers—the animal agriculture industry.”

“What’s worse is that the fallout from this rule following the finding of noncompliance by WTO will include a system of retaliatory tariffs by Canada and Mexico that will, at the very least, harm our partners in the animal agriculture industry.”

“As producers of the nation’s leading farm export, we have a huge stake in ensuring that our trading relationships are robust and mutually beneficial. In the case of COOL, it is incumbent on us to ensure that our own nation’s policies are conducive to that goal. As part of the COOL Reform Coalition, we continue to urge Agriculture Secretary Vilsack to suspend the COOL rule indefinitely to avert a potential economic disaster not only for the American livestock industry, but also for those sectors like ours that depend so greatly on animal agriculture.”