Crawford, Costa React to WTO Ruling on COOL Rule

U.S. Representatives Rick Crawford (R-AR) and Jim Costa (D-CA), Chairman and Ranking Member and of the Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit respectively, issued the following statement Monday regarding the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling against the United States and its mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) requirements set forth by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA):

“Today’s ruling by the WTO presents an opportunity for policy makers to work alongside industry representatives, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), and the USDA, to amend the COOL statute so that it will be in compliance with our international obligations. This good faith effort will create more stability within the market, restore relationships with some of our most significant trading partners and prevent possible trade retaliations from Canada and Mexico. We stand ready to begin this work as soon as possible and urge the USTR and USDA to join us along with industry officials in this effort.”

The ruling ends a months-long period of speculation as to how the World Trade Organization would rule with regard to the COOL requirements. Industry officials comprised of representatives from the packing and processors of beef, pork, lamb, veal, and turkey called on leaders from the USTR and USDA to sit down with lawmakers and industry officials to amend the COOL statute so that it would bring the United States into trade compliance with international trading partners and generate greater market stability.

Earlier this year, Congressmen Costa sand Crawford were joined by 110 Members of Congress in sending a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman requesting that, should the WTO rule against the United States, as was just done, the Secretary of Agriculture rescind the final rule while Congress works to permanently resolve the issue.

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