The U.S. House of Representatives’ June 10 vote to repeal country of origin labeling (COOL) has gained the attention of Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, who is now urging the Senate to approve the bill and President Barack Obama to sign it into law, or else face retaliatory measures.
Canada and Mexico have been at odds with the U.S. concerning COOL, saying that such labeling is unfair and discriminates against Canadian and Mexican pigs and cattle. The World Trade Organization (WTO), after hearing multiple appeals from the United States, again on May 18 ruled the COOL laws that impact pork, beef and poultry unfair, with the ruling being final.
Canada on June 4 filed a request for authorization from the World Trade Organization (WTO) to impose more than CA$3 billion (US$2.4 billion) in retaliatory measures against U.S. exports to Canada in response to U.S. COOL laws. Mexico is seeking US$653 million in retaliatory measures.
Ritz, while encouraged by the House action to repeal the law, stands by his threat of retaliation if the Senate and president do not act.
“COOL must be repealed once and for all," said Ritz. "The administration and Congress know that COOL is costing thousands of American jobs and billions in economic harm to our highly integrated North American livestock industry.While this marks a positive step, the only way for the United States to avoid billions in retaliation by late summer is to ensure legislation repealing COOL passes the Senate and is signed by the president."