WTO Ruling Disappoints

 

The World Trade Organization (WTO) published its ruling regarding international compliance of U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) on Monday finding that the United States COOL law, in part, treats imported livestock less favorably than domestic livestock which is a violation of obligations under international trade laws.   COOL was originally implemented in 2008 to require labeling of beef, lamb, pork and poultry products, the program has continued to be challenged by foreign countries and meat packing interests in the United States.

“We’re obviously disappointed in this ruling, and continue our strong support COOL to allow our customers to make informed decisions about the country of origin of their beef,” said Bob Fortune, President of the South Dakota Stockgrowers.  “This is not unexpected ruling from the WTO but we believe that we can find a solution to satisfy our trading partners and still retain strong labeling of the beef we raise in the United States.”

“We are encouraged that the WTO has continued to uphold the United States’ right to label products, and that the WTO ruling recommends that the U.S. work towards compliance with our trading partners.”

“Stockgrowers and our allies will take time to review the details of this WTO decision but we remain adamant in our defense of COOL.  We urge the U.S. Trade Representative to consider all options for appealing this decision and ask for USDA’s support in recommending regulatory improvements to meet trade compliance.  We also ask Senators Tim Johnson and John Thune as well as Representative Kristi Noem to continue their support of COOL and resist any legislative efforts to repeal these laws before the appeals process and regulatory amendments are exhausted.”

Fortune concluded by saying, “Stockgrowers members are proud of the beef and lamb that we raise and we will continue to defend our ability to label meat at the grocery store counter.  We believe that customers want to know the origin of the meat they purchase for their families.”