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Senate Offers Competing Solutions for COOL; Meat Institute Responds

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

(North American Meat Institute)

Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and John Hoeven (R-ND) last week introduced the Voluntary Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) and Trade Enhancement Act of 2015 , which would establish a voluntary "Product of the U.S." label for beef, pork, chicken and ground meats that are from animals born, raised and harvested in the U.S.

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 U.S. international trade obligations and illegally discriminate against imported livestock from Canada and Mexico.

The Canadian and Mexican governments, however, oppose the voluntary COOL bill, stating that it would continue the segregation and discrimination against the countries' livestock.

Meanwhile, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) introduced an amendment to the surface transportation bill that would repeal COOL for meat. The Meat Institute issued a statement in support of Roberts' amendment, reaffirming the need for full repeal.

"Without a swift and decisive solution, the Canadian and Mexican governments will soon impose $3 billion in retaliatory tariffs that will hit American businesses and consumers hard," said NAMI President and CEO Barry Carpenter. "We can't afford to waste precious time debating proposals other than full and simple repeal. Anything else jeopardizes important segments of the U.S. economy, and ultimately our consumers."

The House of Representatives in June passed COOL repeal by a vote of 300-131.

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