(Washington)--In the wake of today’s decision by the World Trade Organization setting the retaliation amount Canada and Mexico can place on American products in response to the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law, the National Pork Producers Council renewed its call for Congress to repeal labeling requirements for beef, pork and poultry.
The COOL statute requires meat to be labeled with the country where the animal from which it was derived was born, raised and harvested. (It also applies to fish, shellfish, fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables and certain nuts.)
The WTO today said Canada and Mexico can put $1.01 billion in tariffs on U.S. goods because the COOL law, which the international trade body previously ruled violates U.S. trade obligations, discriminates against Canadian and Mexican animals that are sent to the United States to be fed out and processed.
“America’s pork producers need congressional lawmakers to recognize the imminent harm our economy faces,” said NPPC President Dr. Ron Prestage, a veterinarian and pork producer from Camden, S.C. “Retaliation has been authorized, and our exports to the No. 1 and No. 2 markets will suffer and so will U.S. farmers, business people and consumers.
“We need Congress to repeal the labeling provision for beef, pork and poultry now.”
According to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, the average U.S. pork producer currently is losing money on each hog marketed, and retaliation from Canada and Mexico against U.S. pork would exacerbate those losses.
The House of Representatives in June voted to repeal the COOL meat labeling provisions, but the Senate has yet to act on the matter.
NPPC opposed COOL when it was being debated by Congress as part of the 2002 Farm Bill, worked for flexibility in the labeling scheme when lawmakers said it would be part of the 2008 Farm Bill and joined with several other meat organizations in filing a lawsuit against the 2013 regulation implementing the law.