A coalition of agribusiness and manufacturing groups wrote House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders on Thursday calling for Congress to act quickly on any World Trade Organization rule that goes against the U.S. on country of origin labeling.
According to a newsletter I receive, the WTO is sharing its decision privately with Canada, Mexico and the U.S. as early as today. The WTO, which preaches transparency in trade, apparently shares the information in a "confidential" ruling that is later unveiled.
The business groups, led by the Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers, wrote about their concern that Canada and Mexico could "subject an array of U.S. exports to retaliatory tariffs." Further, the groups wrote "A finding of non-compliance would surely result in serious economic harm to U.S. firms that export to our neighbors."
USDA revised its rule on COOL last year after the WTO found that the old meat label discriminated against Mexican and Canadian livestock producers. Canada and Mexico immediately filed complaints against the new rule once USDA drafted it. Thus, we're in the second round of WTO legal battles over this issue.
The business groups want Congress to "direct the Secretary of Agriculture to suspend indefinitely the revised COOL rule for muscle cuts of meat upon a final adjudication of non-compliance with WTO obligations."
Chris Clayton can be reached at email@example.com
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