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WTO Announces COOL Tariffs

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

(North American Meat Institute)

The World Trade Organization (WTO) today authorized Canada and Mexico to impose more than $1 billion in tariffs on U.S. goods in response to the U.S. country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law. Canada previously requested authorization to impose approximately $2.5 billion in tariffs annually, while Mexico requested $713 million in tariffs. Meanwhile, the U.S. argued that costs associated with COOL amount to $91 million per year.

In a statement, Meat Institute President and CEO Barry Carpenter said, “Mandatory COOL is one of the most costly and cumbersome rules ever imposed on the agricultural sector and today’s announcement sets in motion Canada’s and Mexico’s ability to impose tariffs, a move they will likely complete before Christmas. The only way to remove this lump of coal in the United States’ Christmas stocking is swift repeal of mandatory COOL.”

In May, the WTO ruled for a fourth and final time that COOL violates the United States’ international trade obligations and illegally discriminates against imported livestock from Canada and Mexico. The U.S. House of Representatives in June voted to repeal COOL, but the Senate has not yet acted. The Senate may insert COOL repeal language into the omnibus bill or trade enforcement legislation, which is expected to pass before Congress adjourns for the year. Canada and Mexico have stated that full COOL repeal is the only way the U.S. can stave off the proposed retaliatory measures.

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