WASHINGTON – The US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) said country-of-origin-labeling regulations will remain in effect and the USDA supports the United States Trade Representative’s appeal of a World Trade Organization ruling against COOL regulations.

A WTO panel ruled against the COOL provisions created technical barriers to trade. Canada and Mexico, which brought the case to the WTO, applauded the decision.

But Robert Keeney, AMS acting administrator, said the COOL regulations are working well and that it is unnecessary to change them. The regulations became effective in March 2009, and compliance rates have been extremely high since then, according to Keeney.

“Over these last three years, AMS has closely reviewed industry compliance with COOL,” Keeney said. “Most recently, in 2011, USDA and its state cooperators conducted more than 5,000 initial and follow-up compliance reviews of retailers. These reviews established an estimated 96 percent compliance rate for commodities under COOL.”