Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) on Thursday introduced an amendment to repeal mandatory country-of-origin labeling laws. Congress has been working to come up with a resolution for COOL ever since the United States lost its latest appeal in the World Trade Organization, opening a path for Canada and Mexico to issue retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods.
“As I’ve said before, whether you support or oppose COOL, the fact is retaliation is coming,” Roberts said in a news release Thursday.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Roberts has warned in recent months of the effects Canadian and Mexican tariffs would have on U.S. companies, telling the Senate Agriculture Committee last month that “the WTO stove is hot and we don’t want to touch it.”
On June 10, the House voted 300-131 to repeal COOL for beef, pork and chicken products. All four members of Kansas’ U.S. House delegation voted in favor of the bill, H.R. 2393.
“The House has moved quickly to prevent retaliation by repealing mandatory COOL for meat. Now the responsibility falls on us,” Roberts told the Senate Agriculture Committee on June 25. Roberts is the chairman of the committee.
The North American Meat Institute, which has criticized COOL since it was first implemented, praised Roberts’ amendment.
“The North American Meat Institute supports full and simple repeal of mandatory country-of-origin labeling for beef, pork, and chicken included in Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts’ amendment filed today,” said CEO Barry Carpenter in a statement.
Carpenter warned that without a “swift and decisive solution,” Canada and Mexico could soon impose $3 billion worth of tariffs.
“We can’t afford to waste precious time debating proposals other than full and simple repeal. Anything else jeopardizes important segments of the U.S. economy and ultimately our consumers,” he added.
Sources: Topeka Capital-Journal, NAMI