The World Trade Organization (WTO) announced yesterday that mandatory U.S. country-of-origin labeling (COOL) violates international trade rules by discriminating against Canadian and Mexican livestock. According to NCBA President Bob McCan, WTO’s decision brings the U.S. meat industry one step closer to facing retaliatory tariffs from two countries that are among the largest buyers of American beef and pork.
     Canada’s list of products subject to possible trade retaliation include U.S. live cattle and hogs, as well as beef, pork and many other food products. Mexico has yet to release its list of targeted items.
     “NCBA has maintained there is no regulatory fix to bring the COOL rule into compliance with our WTO obligations or that will satisfy our top trading partners,” said McCan. “We look forward to working with Congress to find a permanent solution to this issue, avoiding retaliation against not only beef, but a host of U.S. products.”
     NCBA and KLA contend COOL adds cost to the system without any offsetting benefit for livestock producers or consumers. Increased costs are experienced when segregation at processing plants is required by the COOL law. Consumers are not willing to pay more for labeled U.S. beef, meaning these costs are simply being absorbed in the system and reducing net income to the industry.


KLA Vice President of Communications Todd Domer says more individual comments from ranchers, feeders and dairymen are needed to turn back EPA’s burdensome waters of the U.S. proposal.