The following letter was sent to Congress today by the COOL Reform Coalition and signed by 109 organizations, requesting that Congress 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.
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS:
The undersigned stakeholders are gravely concerned about the negative impact that the existing U.S. Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) rule for muscle cuts of meat will have on the U.S. economy. On October 20, 2014, a World Trade Organization (WTO) Compliance Panel released a report determining that the rule violates obligations the United States has undertaken as a member of the WTO with regard to our two largest export markets, Canada and Mexico. While there is an opportunity for the United States to appeal this decision, final adjudication should occur in early 2015. At that time, if the Compliance Panel's original findings are found to be valid, both Canada and Mexico could subject an array of U.S. exports to retaliatory tariffs. A finding of non-compliance would surely result in serious economic harm to U.S. firms and farmers that export to our neighbors.
Canada has already issued a preliminary retaliation list targeting a broad spectrum of commodities and manufactured products that will affect every state in the country. Mexico has not yet announced a preliminary retaliation list, but has implemented retaliatory tariffs in the past which may be indicative of future tariff opportunities. It is expected that U.S. industries would suffer billions in lost sales if retaliation is allowed. We invite you to review the state-by-state retaliatory analysis available at www.COOLReform.com.
Given the negative impact on the U.S. manufacturing and agriculture economies, we respectfully submit that it would be intolerable for the United States to maintain, even briefly, a rule that has been deemed non-compliant by the WTO. With little potential for quick Congressional action after a WTO final adjudication, we request that Congress immediately authorize and direct the Secretary of Agriculture to rescind elements of COOL that have been determined to be non-compliant with international trade obligations by a final WTO adjudication. Such action by Congress would not undermine COOL to the extent COOL is consistent with international trade obligations nor would it weaken the U.S. defense of COOL in WTO litigation.
Thank you for your attention to this very important matter and for protecting American food production, agriculture and manufacturing from economic harm.
Agri Beef Co.
Altrius Group, LLC
American Bakers Association
American Beverage Association
American Chamber of Commerce of Mexico, A.C.
American Feed Industry Association
American Frozen Food Institute
American Fruit and Vegetable Processors and Growers Coalition
American Meat Institute
American Peanut Product Manufacturers, Inc.
American Seed Trade Association
American Soybean Association
Animal Health Institute
Archer Daniels Midland
Auto Care Association
California Chamber of Commerce
California Cherry Export Association
California Pear Growers Association
California Table Grape Commission
Campbell Soup Company
The Coca-Cola Company
ConAgra Foods, Inc.
Consumer Electronics Association
Corn Refiners Association
Dart Container Corporation
Dr Pepper Snapple Group
Emergency Committee for American Trade (ECAT)
Fashion Jewelry and Accessories Trade Association
Food & Consumer Products of Canada
Food Marketing Institute
Georgia Food Industry Association
Grocery Manufacturers Association
Hawaii Food Industry Association
The Hershey Company
Hills & Company
Hilmar Cheese Company Inc.
H.J. Heinz Company
Hormel Foods Corporation
Independent Bakers Association
Information Technology Industry Council (ITI)
International Dairy Foods Association
International Franchise Association
International Sleep Products Association
Kraft Foods Group, Inc.
The Latino Coalition
Leprino Foods Company
Louisiana Retailers Association
Metals Service Center Institute
Midwest Food Processors Association
Mondelez Global LLC
National Association of Egg Farmers
National Association of Manufacturers
National Beef Packing Co., LLC
National Cattlemen's Beef Association
National Confectioners Association
National Corn Growers Association
National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
National Foreign Trade Council
National Grain and Feed Association
National Grocers Association
National Oilseed Processors Association
National Pork Producers Council
National Renderers Association
National Retail Federation
Nestlé Waters North America
North American Equipment Dealers Association
North American Export Grain Association
North American Meat Association
Northwest Food Processors Association
Northwest Horticultural Council
NPES The Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies
Peanut and Tree Nut Processors Association
Penford Products Co.
Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association
Pet Food Institute
Produce Marketing Association
Red Gold, Inc.
Remy International, Inc.
Sargento Foods Inc.
The Schwan Food Company
Snack Food Association
Sweetener Users Association
Tate & Lyle Americas
Transportation Intermediaries Association
Tyson Foods, Inc.
United Egg Producers
United Producers, Inc.
United States Council for International Business
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
U.S. Premium Beef
USA Rice Federation
The Walter Bagehot Council
Source: COOL Reform Coalition