WTO COOL retaliation ruling expected Dec. 7 | TSLN.com

WTO COOL retaliation ruling expected Dec. 7

The World Trade Organization is now expected to release its official ruling on the level of retaliation to which Canada and Mexico are entitled in the case they brought against the United States over its country-of-original labeling program for beef and pork on Dec. 7, the U.S. Cattlemen's Association said in a statement Friday.

The ruling had been expected in November, but was postponed. The WTO had earlier ruled that the U.S. labeling program violates WTO rules and discriminates against Canadian and Mexican cattle because U.S. slaughterhouses have declined to take Canadian or Mexican animals or paid less for them on the grounds that running separate lines for non-U.S. cattle and hogs causes extra expense.

USCA, which favors labeling, urged Congress to pass the bill sponsored by Senate Agriculture ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., that would establish a voluntary U.S. beef label for meat from animals born, raised and processed in the United States.

The alternative, USCA noted, is for the Senate to vote to fully repeal the COOL program for beef and pork, as the House has done.

"U.S. producers cannot allow the current COOL program to be repealed, the ability to promote our product depends on support from the countryside," said Rod Gray, a USCA board director from Harrison, Neb.

"The course proposed by many opponents of COOL will force the U.S. cattle industry decades back in terms of consumer confidence and marketing," Gray said.

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The American Meat Institute, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the National Pork Producers Council and other groups have called for full repeal.

–The Hagstrom Report

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