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Canada, Mexico Seek Retaliatory Measures Against U.S. in COOL Dispute

Monday, June 8, 2015

(North American Meat Institute)

Canada and Mexico last week announced that they will seek World Trade Organization (WTO) authorization to impose more than $3 billion in retaliatory measures against U.S. exports in the ongoing dispute over country-of-origin labeling (COOL). In May, the WTO issued a final decision, without the possibility of appeal, in which it upheld an earlier ruling affirming that the mandatory COOL law and regulations violate the U.S. international trade obligations and illegally discriminate against imported livestock from Canada and Mexico. The decision formally permits Canada and Mexico to impose trade sanctions-which must first be approved by the WTO-against the U.S. Canada and Mexico will seek authorization to implement retaliatory measures at a June 17, 2015, meeting of the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body. Canada is requesting sanctions worth more than $3 billion, while Mexico is seeking $653 million in punitive measures.

In a statement, the Meat Institute urged the immediate repeal of the COOL law, calling the costs "cumbersome" and stating that without repeal, American jobs and exports will suffer.

"Our country's credibility as a serious and fair-minded trading partner is on the line," NAMI President and CEO Barry Carpenter said in the statement. "The United States cannot just talk the trade talk, our country must walk the trade walk."

Carpenter last week chaired a meeting to coordinate industry efforts to repeal COOL, and was joined by Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Gerry Ritz, as well as representatives from NAMI member companies, producer groups and associations. Meanwhile, the House Committee on Agriculture recently voted to repeal the COOL requirements for beef, pork and chicken, while leaving intact the requirements for all other covered commodities. The full House is expected to vote on the repeal bill as early as this week.

NAMI members interested in weighing in on this matter should contact their Representative to urge repeal of the law. To find your Representative, visit www.house.gov , and enter your zip code in the search function located at the top, right-hand corner of the site. For further assistance, contact NAMI Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs Pete Thomson at pthomson@meatinstitute.org or 202/587-4235.

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