Last Friday, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced it will appeal the World Trade Organization's (WTO) ruling claiming our mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) rules violate trade agreements.
Labeling became mandatory in 2009. A WTO panel ruled against the COOL provision of the law saying it violated technical barriers to trade. Canada and Mexico, which brought the case to the WTO, applauded the decision, arguing that shipments of cattle and hogs from those countries declined sharply after COOL went into effect.
The appeal disputes the WTO's contention that COOL provides less favorable treatment to Mexican and Canadian livestock producers and that the COOL statute is more trade restrictive than necessary to provide information to consumers.
The WTO decision did not dispute the United States' right to require labeling, but objects to the ways the COOL statute was implemented.
Mexico's Economy Ministry announced it plans to defend the WTO ruling against meat labeling requirements.