Following the House Agriculture Committee’s approval last week of a bill to repeal the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) requirements for beef, pork and chicken, the full House is scheduled to vote tonight on H.R. 2393, the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) Amendments Act of 2015.
The COOL Reform Coalition, of which IDFA is a member, sent Congress a letter on Tuesday, urging members “to vote in favor of H.R. 2393 when it comes to the House floor later this week.” If COOL requirements are not removed by Congress, the U.S. dairy industry faces potential export losses through retaliation by Canada and Mexico.
Canada has already issued a preliminary retaliation list targeting a broad spectrum of commodities and manufactured products, including dairy, which would affect every state in the country. Mexico has not yet announced a preliminary retaliation list but has implemented retaliatory tariffs in the past, which may be indicative of future tariff actions.
A joint statement by Canadian and Mexican officials stated, “Canada will request authorization from the WTO to impose over C$3 billion [US$2.5 billion] in retaliatory measures against the U.S., while Mexico will seek authorization for over US$653 million.” A special World Trade Organization (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body meeting is scheduled for June 17 to consider the request.
The WTO ruled last month against the COOL rule. Canada and Mexico had challenged the rule for muscle cuts of meat at the WTO, arguing that COOL has a trade-distorting impact by reducing the value and number of cattle and hogs shipped to the U.S. market. The WTO found the United States to be in noncompliance with its international trade obligations. The ruling is a concern to the U.S. dairy industry because of potential retaliation against U.S. dairy exports.
For more information, contact Beth Hughes, IDFA director of international affairs, at email@example.com.