NCBA Statement on Canadian WTO Complaint against U.S. COOL Law
WASHINGTON - The following is a statement from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association regarding today’s announcement that the Canadian government will formally proceed with a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement process against U.S. mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL).
“Canada’s decision to move forward with their complaint against U.S. COOL regulations is unfortunate, due to the potential retaliatory action that could be taken against U.S. beef. Since COOL was first proposed, we’ve continued to have concerns about its potential implications on our relationship with our top two trading partners—not to mention its impact on domestic feeder cattle markets at our borders to the North and South.
“The U.S. imports and adds value to Mexican and Canadian livestock through our feedlots, processing and infrastructure; and we export this value-added finished product back to Mexican and Canadian consumers. Any disruptions to either of these markets will have a significant economic impact on our industry. Unfortunately, it’s becoming clear that COOL has damaged these critically important trading relationships, and is not putting any additional money into the pockets of cattlemen.”
In order to gain a better understanding of COOL’s effects on the entire beef chain, NCBA has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to reinstate a joint Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)/Economic Research Service (ERS) study entitled, “Economic Analysis of Country of Origin Implementation Costs for Producers and Processors in the Beef, Pork and Lamb Industries” that was to be completed in cooperation with the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC). Unfortunately, the FY 2010 Agriculture Appropriations Bill did not direct USDA to reinstate the funding for this purpose. NCBA is continuing to urge USDA to prioritize this project.
Canada and Mexico are our top two trading partners, together accounting for 59% of total U.S. beef, beef variety meat and processed beef product export revenues last year. It is likely that Mexico will join Canada in proceeding with a formal WTO dispute settlement process. For more information, visit this link to the WTO website.