USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said that there may not be a fix for the country of origin labeling rules that have come into conflict with the World Trade Organization’s rules. KUNC News reports that his comments mark the first time that the U.S. rules are not compliant with WTO standards and must be fixed.
“We’ve done a 360-degree look and I can tell you that we do not think there’s a regulatory fix that would allow us to be consistent with the law, which I’ve sworn to uphold, and to satisfy the WTO,” Vilsack said.
Canada and Mexico have won several rulings against the COOL rules in WTO hearings with their claims that the rules hinder free trade. In the most recent decision that went against the United States, the countries can issue trade sanctions against U.S. products. The U.S. government has yet to appeal that decision.
Congress could change the rules. Congress could, Vilsack said, “give us different directions that would allow us to comport with the WTO ruling to prevent whatever potential retaliation may occur.”