WASHINGTON – The second round of hearings of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Dispute Settlement Panel on the US Country-of-Origin Labeling law (COOL) is scheduled for Dec. 1 and Dec. 2 in Geneva, Switzerland. The North American Food Processors Association opposes COOL, and has joined other industry associations in Canada, Mexico and the US in strategy sessions to challenge it.

NAMP officials contend the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) continues to assist the Canadian Government legal team prepare for the second round. Since the first hearing in September, Canada has submitted nearly 40 pages of responses to the Dispute Panel’s questions and a further 50 pages of rebuttals to US arguments.

The US defense said during the first hearing COOL was constructed only to inform consumers and has no negative impact. So far the US has made little attempt to contradict Canada’s economic arguments to the contrary, CCA says. The CCA will attend the upcoming oral hearing as stakeholder advisers.

The second oral hearing will be followed by further written submissions through February, according to CCA. A final panel report is scheduled for July 2011, and will most likely be followed by an appeal, which will take another year.