US appeals WTO's dumb Country of Origin Labeling decision

December 01, 2014


Latest News on COOL: The US has filed a Notice of Appeal with the World Trade Organization (WTO) on November 28, 2014.

This is an appeal of a recent WTO tribunal decision meddling in our domestic laws on food labeling.

Few believed that when we joined the WTO that international tribunals would use this treaty to muck around in our domestic food labeling laws. That's not what we bought into.  But now we know that what we sign isn't necessarily what we get, even as the outsourcing of our constitutional republic was clear in many other ways.

The US has a country of origin labeling law so that meat, produce and seafood let consumers know where the food was produced. Over 90% of consumers want this law. 

But Mexico and Canada have brought a case at the WTO against the US alleging that our COOL law violates the WTO treaty. Why?  Because those countries ship a lot of meat and live animals to the US and do not want consumers to know that the "USDA inspected" label does not mean "USA produced." Hypocritically, you will find that Canadian supermarkets label their meat as "Product of Canada."

A tribunal of foreign trade experts previously ruled that the US COOL regulations (that implemented the COOL law) were partially in violation of the WTO treaty. The US changed some of the COOL implementing regulations to comply.  But Canada and Mexico were not satisfied because they want US COOL to go away.

Thus they sought and received another WTO ruling that found the new US COOL rules violated the treaty in part.  The November 28 Notice of Appeal is our government appealing that decision, as they should.

Global meat packers - the biggest owned by China and Brazil - are collaborating with the Canadian and Mexican governments in this effort.  They are trying to get the Congress to preemptively gut COOL in an appropriations bill. If you read the agricultural industry press, you will find reporters naively hyperventilating about a "trade war, oh my", dutifully reprinting the talking points of the foreign governments and global crony capitalists.

You may have seen CPA's notifications to email Congress to protect COOL.  This will be a continuing fight.  We continue to win every battle in Congress for COOL.  But we have to win all the battles, because it takes only one loss to lose COOL forever.

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