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Meat groups applaud WTO ruling on COOL

The World Trade Organization ruled in favor of Canada and Mexico in the countries’ challenge to updated country-of-origin labeling regulations in the U.S.

WTO found that the COOL rule discriminates against Canadian and Mexican livestock and causes more of a negative impact on imported livestock than the original COOL measure. In addition, WTO said the additional labeling and recordkeeping burdens could not be explained by the need to give consumers more information.

The American Meat Institute and North American Meat Association released a joint statement praising the decision:

“The WTO decision upholding Canada’s and Mexico’s challenge to the U.S. COOL rule comes as no surprise. USDA’s mandatory COOL rule is not only onerous and burdensome on livestock producers and meat packers and processors, it does not bring the U.S. into compliance with its WTO obligations. By being out of compliance, the U.S. is subject to retaliation from Canada and Mexico that could cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars.

“While the U.S. has the option to appeal the ruling, we encourage USTR and USDA to instead work together with the industry and Congress to amend the COOL statute so that it complies with our international obligations and brings stability to the market. Such a change would help restore strong relationships with some of our largest and most important trading partners.”

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