The World Trade Organization (WTO) issued a compliance panel report on Monday that found the U.S. country-of-origin labeling (COOL) revised rule violates U.S. international trade obligations. Canada and Mexico had challenged the rule in the WTO, claiming it has a trade-distorting impact by reducing the value and number of cattle and hogs shipped to the U.S. market.
Backed by the finding, Canada and Mexico may retaliate against a wide range of U.S products, including dairy products, with high, burdensome tariffs. These countries represent two of the largest markets for U.S. agricultural goods.
The COOL rule requires most retailers to provide country-of-origin labeling for fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, shellfish, peanuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, ginseng, meat and poultry.
IDFA is a member of the COOL Reform Coalition, which promotes reforms to the COOL requirements to ensure that they are compliant with international trade obligations. In a statement released this week, the coalition said the ruling “could cause significant economic repercussions for U.S. manufacturing and agriculture, unless Congress intervenes.”
IDFA anticipates that the United States will appeal this decision, with final adjudication by the WTO expected as early as mid-2015.
For more information, visit COOLReform.com or contact Beth Hughes, IDFA director of international affairs, at email@example.com.