COOL: Down, but not out

by Erica Shaffer
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WASHINGTON – An effort is underway to save country of origin labeling. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, ranking member of the US Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, released a draft amendment to federal COOL regulations that makes compliance voluntary. 

US Sen. Debbie Stabenow

US Sen. Debbie Stabenow

Stabenow released the amendment in advance of the committee's hearing on COOL. “Country of Origin Labeling and Trade Retaliation: What’s at Stake for America’s Farmers, Ranchers, Businesses and Consumers” is scheduled for June 25.

“This approach is a pathway to finding a solution on country of origin labeling,” Stabenow said. “COOL serves an important role for consumers and industry. However, the WTO has been clear that we must find a solution that is consistent with our international trade obligations. This proposal offers a viable alternative and I look forward to discussing it at our hearing and with my colleagues in the Senate as we work to come to agreement on a bipartisan solution.”

Witnesses scheduled to participate in the hearing include Barry Carpenter, CEO of the North American Meat Institute; Craig Hill, president of the Iowa Farm Bureau on behalf of the American Farm Bureau Federation; Leo McDonnell, executive officer and director emeritus of the United States Cattlemen Association; Jaret Moyer, president of the Kansas Livestock Association; Jim Trezise, president of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation; and Chris Cuddy, senior vice president and president of ADM’s corn processing unit.

The US Trade Representative submitted a request to the World Trade Organization's Dispute Settlement Body to determine how much money Canada can claim through retaliatory tariffs. Canada requested authorization to impose more than $3 billion in retaliatory measures against US exports to Canada, while Mexico is seeking more than $653 million.

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