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U.S. Chamber of Commerce Suggests COOL Rule is Costly

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Suggests COOL Rule is Costly

Country of Origin labeling rule could lead to thousands of lost jobs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce opinion piece suggests

In an opinion piece posted Wednesday, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President for International Policy John Murphy says County of Origin Labeling has the potential to cost America thousands of lost jobs in factories and on farms due to Canadian and Mexican retaliation on U.S. products.

The rule, which a World Trade Organization panel on Monday found to be inconsistent with rules on technical barriers to trade, mandates labeling on meat products which indicate where the originating animal was born, raised and slaughtered.

According to WTO complaints from Canada and Mexico, the countries felt the COOL rule creates unnecessary bias and discriminates against imports.

Country of Origin labeling rule could lead to thousands of lost jobs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce opinion piece suggests

The countries represent the two largest markets for U.S. exports, the Chamber points out in its opinion piece, and with the ruling could have the power to retaliate by imposing tariffs on an array of American industries.

Related: World Trade Organization Rules Against Country of Origin Labeling

The Chamber says costs also could go beyond tariff retaliation. "More than 95% of the world’s consumers live outside the United States. American farmers, workers, and companies won’t be able to tap those markets if we don’t live up to these rules—rules we expect others to follow—rules that the United States did more to write than any other country," Murphy writes.

The WTO's Monday ruling is the second ruling on COOL. The first was delivered in 2012, after which the USDA proposed a revised rule in 2013, intended to satisfy the requests of the WTO.

Now, after two failed attempts, the Chamber says, "Congress [should] immediately authorize and direct the Secretary of Agriculture to rescind elements of COOL that have been determined to be noncompliant with international trade obligations by a final WTO adjudication."

Supporters of the rule, however, say it provides needed information to consumers making purchasing decisions, and offers added value to U.S. cattlemen.

Ag organizations opposed to the rule suggest it adds to costs for packers and threatens relationships with trading partners.

For more, read full reaction to the COOL decision and the complete U.S. Chamber of Commerce blog post.

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