The House of Representatives on June 10 approved a bill that would repeal the U.S. country of origin labeling (COOL) laws concerning pork, beef and poultry. The measure passed by a 300-131 margin, and now moves on to the Senate.
The bill was introduced by House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway, who has advocated for COOL’s repeal amid threats of retaliatory action from Mexico and Canada. Both countries had challenged U.S. COOL laws, saying they are unfair and discriminate against Canadian and Mexican beef and pork.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) on May 18 ruled for the fourth time against the U.S. COOL requirements, which have been in place since 2008. The WTO decision was final and without the possibility of further appeal.
Canada has 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.
“I am thankful for the support of my colleagues today in passing this common-sense, bipartisan bill that is a necessary targeted response to avoid retaliation from Canada and Mexico. Two of our top trading partners announced earlier this month their intention to seek more than $3 billion in retaliatory sanctions against U.S. exports. This would extend far beyond the agriculture industry and would hurt nearly every sector of the U.S. economy. H.R. 2393 will prevent retaliation and bring the U.S. back into compliance, and I urge my colleagues in the Senate to act quickly on this urgent matter,” said Conaway.
Numerous companies and trade organizations, including the North American Meat Institute and National Pork Producers Council, have pushed for the repeal of COOL.