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Groups oppose intervention in COOL
The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association joined the National Farmers Union, the American Sheep Industry Association, and the Consumer Federation of America in a joint letter sent Oct. 29 to U.S. House and Senate Farm Bill conferees, voicing strong support for U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL). In the letter, the organizations opposed any attempt to make modifications through the farm bill to the underlying COOL law or to U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations which became final in late May.
According to an Oct. 31 U.S. Cattlemen’s Asso-ciation press release, COOL opponents recently sent a letter to House and Senate Farm Bill conferees urging them to utilize COOL placeholder language in the House version of the farm bill as a mechanism to drastically change the law. The letter specifically references the need to insert language in the farm bill that will halt all current action regarding the program and negate the actions currently under way at the World Trade Organization .
U.S. Cattlemen’s Association Presi-dent Jon Wooster explained, “A COOL compliance review is currently under way at the WTO [World Trade Organization] so our trading partners will be able to have an independent body evaluate the extent of compliance by the revised regulations. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative have indicated that the revised regulations bring the United States into compliance with our trade obligations. It is clearly the wrong approach for those who are dissatisfied with the U.S. law to seek a reversal through the farm bill when everyone, including the World Trade Organization, understands that there are important purposes served by providing more information to consumers.”
“... The revised regulations offer the same opportunity to the meat sector,” Wooster said. “The correct approach is to permit the Administration to proceed as it has, in compliance with existing U.S. law and defending at the World Trade Organizaiton that which was adopted after extensive consideration by U.S. Department of Agriculture.”
The U.S. Cattlemen’s Asso-ciation will continue to monitor conference committee discussions and will provide information as the process unfolds.
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