Members of a select House-Senate panel called for a potential repeal of the controversial country-of-origin labeling law, which has led to threats of retaliatory tariffs from Mexico and Canada. The COOL law, which requires labels on packages of beef, pork, poultry and lamb sold in U.S. stores to carry specific information on the source of the meat, is being challenged by those countries at the World Trade Organization.
At the first negotiating session on a final version of the new $500 billion U.S. farm bill, several lawmakers said COOL should be revised or repealed, in part because of the risk of international sanctions, reports Reuters.
"I am hopeful that working together we can prevent the imposition of tariffs on a wide array of products important to many states," said House Agriculture Committee chairman Frank Lucas in an opening statement. Under congressional protocol, he chairs the farm bill talks.
Republican Senator Pat Roberts from Kansas, one of the largest U.S. cattle states, said he would support a House provision that was under development and expected to be a repeal clause for COOL. Senate Agriculture chairwoman Debbie Stabenow said COOL "clearly is one of the issues" for farm bill negotiators.