The U.S. Trade Representative, in a brief filed with the World Trade Organization, says the economic methodology used by Canada and Mexico is “flawed” and thus the two countries have “seriously” overestimated the damage that can be attributed to country-of-origin labeling.
According to the USTR, Canada and Mexico should be allowed $91 million in tariffs (Canada, $43.22 million and Mexico, $47.55 million) instead of the $3.12 billion per year (Canada, $2.41 billion and Mexico, $713 million) they are seeking.
The WTO has scheduled an arbitration hearing on this issue for Sept. 15-16. The WTO has ruled repeatedly against the United States and has sided with Canada and Mexico that COOL discriminates against foreign livestock and violates international trade law.
The House of Representatives has passed legislation to repeal COOL. The Senate has yet to consider the issue. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, has introduced legislation to repeal COOL and Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and John Hoeven (R-ND) have introduced a bill that would establish a “voluntary” COOL program.