The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association issued the following statement regarding the May 18 ruling by the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Country of Origin Labeling (COOL). The following statement is attributed to SD Stockgrowers Association President Bob Fortune. Fortune ranches with his son on a multi-generational cattle ranch near Belvidere, SD.
“The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association is disappointed in the May 18 ruling from the WTO, but we continue to advocate for Country of Origin Labeling that lets customers make informed decisions about where their food comes from. We will continue to work for a resolution that allows the United States labeling laws to stand and come to an agreement with our trade partners.”
“The WTO ruling states that the United States laws governing COOL do not comply with international trade obligations, and now opens the door for Canada and Mexico to file for trade retaliations. However, anyone speculating about exorbitant trade tariffs is doing so to raise fears and is jumping ahead of the arbitration process which will determine what, if any damages are being cause to Canada and Mexico. Tariffs will only take effect if the arbitration process fails to reach any resolution, and we feel that there is a real opportunity for the United States to find a way for Canada and Mexico join us in providing information to all our consumers about the source of their food.”
“South Dakota Stockgrowers calls on Congress to resist these intimidation tactics and allow the administration to complete the arbitration process. Given the growing number of countries importing beef and lamb into the United States we believe that a strong Country of Origin Labeling program is as important as it ever was to our ranchers.”
“COOL gives our customers the information they need to make confident decisions about purchasing food for their families. The United States is a sovereign country and we urge Congress and the President to assert their authority in upholding Country of Origin Labeling.”
Read the full ruling by clicking here.