WASHINGTON – The National Pork Producers Council recently held a roundtable discussion with industry representatives from Mexico and Canada regarding U.S. country of origin meat labeling requirements.
NPPC Vice President and Council for International Affairs Nick Giordano says retaliation is on the way if the U.S. does not repeal the requirements; The House passed a bill to do just that and now he says the Senate needs to act quickly to repeal, without trying to fix it and losing momentum.
“You know, we could have the best idea come out of the Senate on labeling,” Giordano says, “that we all agree is WTO consistent, and even if it was found to be consistent, that’s a two-year process. That retaliation would be in effect for two years.”
The United States and the World Trade Organization met recently to discuss Canada’s request for about three billion dollars in trade retaliations. Giordano says the Canadian retaliation request may be slightly lowered, but that’s no consolation prize with U.S. exports in jeopardy.
“We are going to lose exports,” says Giordano, “and there is going to be a sting that’s felt broadly across the United State. I mean, Canada and Mexico are huge trading partners. So the message we’re trying to get out ot the Senate, and it’s not just NPPC, and it’s not just the beef industry; it’s a huge COOL reform coalition, which consists of companies and associations that have an interest in North American trade, because Canada and Mexico are huge trading partners, and our day in court is over. The only thing the WTO is looking at now is abritrating how high the retaliation should be.”
The COOL Repeal Coalition is calling on the Senate to pass the bill repealing COOL and send it on to the President to sign, which would stop any chance for retaliations.
To hear more about country of origin label repeal efforts on Capitol Hill, click the audio player above this story.