Mexico, Canada appeal COOL challenge

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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WASHINGTON – Mexico and Canada have filed counter appeals in an ongoing dispute of the United States’ mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) regulations for meat, according to a report from the National Chicken Council.

The US said it would appeal a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling against the law, which requires country-of-origin labels on all meat sold in US grocery stores. A WTO panel ruled against the COOL provisions saying it violated technical barriers to trade by treating imported livestock less favorably than domestic livestock. The panel also agreed with Canada and Mexico that the COOL requirements violated technical barriers to trade by fulfilling the US objective of providing consumer information on origin with respect to meat products.

Canada and Mexico, which brought the case to the WTO, applauded the decision, arguing that shipments of cattle and hogs from those countries declined sharply after COOL went into effect. However, both countries are challenging the panel’s findings that the objective of COOL is legitimate. Both countries argued that even if the WTO’s Appellate Body agrees with the US that the mandatory COOL measure does fulfill the US objective of providing consumer information, the regulations should be ruled illegal because the US could have resorted to less trade-restrictive measures to achieve its objectives.

A ruling by the WTO Appellate Body is expected by the end of June.

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