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WTO Rules Against US In COOL Case; Could Mean New Dairy Tariffs By Canada, Mexico
IDFA, Other Food, Ag Groups Want COOL Rule Suspended
The World Trade Organization (WTO) on Monday released a compliance panel report that found that a US country of origin labeling (COOL) rule on muscle cuts of meat violates US international trade obligations.
The WTO compliance panel found that the amended COOL measure violates the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement because it accords to Canadian and Mexican livestock less favorable treatment than that accorded to like US livestock.
In particular, the compliance panel concluded that the amended COOL measure increases the original COOL measure’s detrimental impact on the competitive opportunities of imported livestock in the US market, because it necessitates increased segregation of meat and livestock according to origin; entails a higher recordkeeping burden; and increases the original COOL measure’s incentive to choose domestic over imported livestock.
The compliance panel found that the detrimental impact caused by the COOL measure does not stem exclusively from legitimate regulatory distinctions.
Backed by the WTO’s ruling, Canada and Mexico may retaliate against a wide range of US products, including dairy products, with high tariffs, according to the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA).
In response to the WTO’s ruling, a broad coalition of US organizations and companies, including
IDFA, called on Congress to immediately authorize and direct the US secretary of agriculture to rescind elements of COOL that have been determined to be noncompliant with international trade obligations by a final WTO adjudication.
“The disruption of these trade ties by WTO noncompliance and the resulting retaliation by our North American neighbors...more