The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced that it was appealing the October World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling that found the U.S. country of origin labeling (COOL) rules on beef and pork were non-compliant with international trade obligations. In October the WTO said that the U.S. requirements of labeling meat where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered violated global trade rules because livestock from Canada and Mexico received “less favorable treatment than that accorded to like U.S. livestock.”
The National Farmers Union, the leading proponent of COOL said, “American consumers have been crystal clear that they want to know where their food comes from and family farmers and ranchers are proud to provide it. The decision by the USTR to appeal the WTO’s erroneous finding demonstrates full support for American family farmers, ranchers and consumers.” Canada’s Ministers of International Trade and Agriculture said in a joint statement, “With this delay, the United States is yet again preventing both of our countries from enjoying the benefits of freer and more open trade and is hurting farmers, ranchers and workers in the United States and Canada.”
Canada has released a list of products that it would impose over $1 billion in tariffs once the WTO process if finalized. It is expected that the United States will lose the appeal and this issue will have to be resolved legislatively next year.