The US Trade Representative (USTR) has announced that it will be appealing the October World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling that found the US country of origin labelling (COOL) rules on beef and pork were non-compliant with international trade obligations.
The WTO compliance panel ruled on October 20 that the US requirements of labelling meat where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered violated global trade rules because livestock from Canada and Mexico received “less favourable treatment than that accorded to like US livestock.”
The panel found that action from USDA to bring rules into WTO compliance last year increased the original COOL rule’s “detrimental impact on the competitive opportunities of imported livestock in the US market”.
Canada’s Ministers of International Trade and Agriculture said in a joint statement, “With this delay, the US is yet again preventing both of our countries from enjoying the benefits of freer and more open trade and is hurting farmers, ranchers and workers in the US and Canada.”
The National Farmers Union, the leading proponent of COOL said, “American consumers have been crystal clear that they want to know where their food comes from and family farmers and ranchers are proud to provide it”. The decision by the USTR to appeal the WTO’s erroneous finding demonstrates full support for American family farmers, ranchers and consumers”.