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Tuesday, June 23, 2015
US Senate ag committee chairman: COOL must be repealed
Pat Roberts, chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, is urging his colleagues to follow the House’s lead and approve a bill to repeal country of origin labeling (COOL).
The U.S. House of Representatives on June 10 approved H.R. 2393, which would repeal COOL, which includes labeling for pork, beef and poultry meat. The current COOL laws have been deemed unfair by the World Trade Organization in a dispute between the U.S. and its neighbors, Mexico and Canada.
Both Mexico and Canada have filed with the WTO to pursue retaliatory measures, which would amount to more than $3 billion. The WTO Dispute Settlement Body is to consider the request for retaliation on June 17.
“I applaud the House for its swift action to prevent retaliation from Canada and Mexico,” said Roberts. “My counterpart in the House, Chairman Mike Conaway, has done an incredible job leading a bipartisan and decisive charge to protect American agriculture.
“I am continuing to take suggestions from my colleagues in the Senate for alternatives that meet our trade obligations. However, almost a month has passed since the WTO ruling was announced, and repeal remains the surest way to protect the American economy from retaliatory tariffs. We can sit here and let this happen. Or we can move. Let’s get a move on.”