Following a report that says the World Trade Organization has sided with Canada and Mexico in the dispute over U.S. country of origin labelling rules, a coalition of American food and agriculture organizations is urging Congress and U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack to immediately suspend COOL if the WTO rules against the U.S.
Although the ruling has not yet been made public, a report in the Wall Street Journal last week said the WTO has determined the U.S. is not complying with its international trade obligations.
The decision was shared confidentially with the governments for all three countries involved in the trade dispute in early July. It’s now expected the ruling will be made public in September.
Speaking on behalf of the COOL Reform Coalition, the U.S. National Corn Growers Association issued a statement this week, saying suspending COOL would “neither pre-judge the pending WTO litigation on this matter nor allow an on-going period of knowing violation of international trade obligations.”
The Canadian cattle and hog industries say COOL is costing producers north of the border around $1 billion per year.
While the Canadian government has already published a list of U.S. products that could face retaliatory tariffs, a WTO compliance panel ruling against the U.S. would likely be appealed. If the appeal decision is also in Canada’s favour, there’s a possibility those retaliatory tariffs could be implemented by the middle of 2015.