The U.S. Trade Representative announced last month the appeal of the World Trade Organization’s ruling claiming our mandatory country of-origin labeling rules violate trade agreements. Tim Reif, general counsel to the U.S. Trade Representative office, told AgriTalk Radio’s Mike Adams the administration is committed to protecting consumers by providing country-of-origin information on beef and pork products. The appeal, he says, disputes the WTO’s contention that COOL provides “less favorable treatment to Mexican and Canadian livestock producers,” and that “the COOL statute is more trade restrictive than necessary to provide information to consumers.”
Reif explained that the WTO decision did not dispute the United States’ right to require country-of-origin labels, but objects to the ways the COOL statute was implemented.
An appeal is expected within two to three months.
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association issued a statement expressing concern the appeal will do more harm than good. “Instead of working diligently to bring the United States into WTO compliance, our government has opted to engage in an appeal process, which jeopardizes our strong trade relationship with Canada and Mexico, the two largest importers of U.S. beef,” says NCBA vice president Bob McCann.