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Don’t Let Neighbours Bully You on COOL, NFU Tells Congress

03 June 2013

US - National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson sent a letter to Congressional leadership, expressing concern over threats of retaliatory action that were recently made by Canadian and Mexican trade officials over the United States’ Country-of-Origin Labelling (COOL) law.

"COOL provides important, common-sense information to American consumers about their food, and many of our trading partners require the same information from the United States," Mr Johnson noted in his letter.

Last week, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a final rule governing COOL in order to comply with requirements set forth by a recent WTO ruling based on disputes brought forth by Canada and Mexico. The new rule will require labels for certain foods, particularly muscle cuts of meat, to include the countries in which the animal was born, raised and slaughtered.

Mr Johnson said: "The WTO Appellate Body ruled in 2012 that the COOL law itself is WTO-compliant, but the way in which it was implemented is not. To solve this issue, USDA’s final COOL rule fully complies with the ruling and resolves the dispute.

"Imminent retaliation is nothing more than a scare tactic designed to persuade Congress to change the COOL law, which has already been ruled WTO-compliant."


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