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Agriculture Today

Cattlemen’s group supports COOL appeal

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April 18, 2012 | 4,006 views | Post a comment

The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association is pleased with the U.S. Trade Representative’s decision to appeal a World Trade Organization’s Dispute Settlement Panel ruling against the U.S. country of origin (COOL) law. On March 23, the U.S. Trade Representative notified the World Trade Organization of its decision to appeal the Dispute Settlement Panel’s ruling issued in November 2011.

U.S. Cattlemen’s Association President Jon Wooster said in a March 26 press release that while the Dispute Panel’s findings took issue with certain implementation rules, the panel affirmed the right of the United States to label food products with country of origin.

The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association “was pleased with this particular aspect of the Dispute Panel’s findings,” Wooster said. “However, we disagree with the panel’s assessment that the law offers less favorable treatment to meat products imported from Canada and Mexico and USCA [U.S. Cattlemen’s Association] membership feels strongly that those aspects of the ruling should be re-examined by a higher authority.

“Recent reports show that exchange rates have affected trade flows in beef and cattle from Canada,” Wooster said. “The CME Group published an analysis titled ‘Feeder Cattle From Mexico Aid U.S. Supplies’ on March 21, 2012. This analysis provides evidence that COOL is not a deterrent to imports. According to the report, in 2011 the U.S. imported about 1.4 million head of feeder cattle from Mexico, up about 190,000 head or 15 percent more than the year prior. It’s notable that neither Canada or Mexico have referenced this fact in the COOL debate.”

The U.S. Trade Representative has a strong appeal case, Wooster said, and it is the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association’s intention to support the appeal.

The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association looks forward to working with Congress and the U.S. Trade Representative “to ensure that COOL is defended and remains the law of the land,” Wooster said.

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