USCA responds to WTO COOL ruling

Farm Forum

USCA (May 18, 2015) — On May 18, The United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) issued the following statement regarding the ruling by the World Trade Organization on country of origin labeling (COOL). The following statement may be attributed to (USCA) Director Emeritus Leo McDonnell:

“The WTO ruled on Monday, May 18th that the amended COOL measure does not comply with U.S. WTO obligations. The panel’s findings allow Canada and Mexico to now file notification of their intent to retaliate; any filing done on their part will specify the retaliation amounts they believe are warranted. The U.S. may request arbitration on any requested levels of retaliation; the process to conduct all necessary protocol will take approximately 60 days.”

“As stated by USCA previously, COOL provides consumers a choice at the grocery stores and the ability for U.S. cattle producers to differentiate their product. As other countries move to implement country or origin labeling programs, we are disappointed that today’s ruling by the WTO contradicts this growing trend.”

“This past week saw significant movement on Fast Track Authority, and inevitably the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. TPP has the potential, if implemented, to increase and broaden the import and export markets for the U.S. With a burgeoning international trade arena, it is vital that today’s consumers know where their food products originate. We are asking that consumers have a choice; once the product reaches the store shelves, then it is up to them on where they will lend their buying power.”

“USCA will work with the administration and Congress to implement any necessary changes to COOL as required by today’s ruling. We are committed to maintaining the information provided to consumers through the “A” label, which distinguishes those products born, raised and harvested in the U.S., and will work to address any concerns or violations as ruled on by the WTO.”