Friday, August 14, 2015

WTO to hold COOL arbitration hearings

The World Trade Organization (WTO) will hold arbitration hearings September 15-16 to consider Canada and Mexico’s proposed retaliatory tariffs against the United States in the ongoing country of origin labeling (COOL) dispute. The hearings will be held in Geneva, Switzerland.
The two countries are seeking more than $3 billion in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods, but the U.S. requested WTO arbitration and wants the WTO to lower the retaliatory tariffs to an amount just over $90 million, according to a press release from the North American Meat Institute (NAMI).
The hearings stem from a long-standing dispute between the three North American countries, with Mexico and Canada challenging U.S. COOL laws, saying they violate trade obligations and discriminate against Canadian and Mexican pork and beef. The WTO issued its final ruling, favoring Mexico and Canada, on May 18.
The U.S. House of Representatives in June passed a bill that would repeal COOL, but the Senate has yet to reach an agreement on legislation pertaining to COOL, despite urgings to repeal the labeling laws from Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts.
Several agricultural groups, including NAMI and the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) have advocated for the repeal of U.S. COOL laws.

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