Just last week the World Trade Organization (WTO) announced authorization of retaliatory action against the United States to tune of over $1 billion. Why? The government requires beef and pork products to be labeled with their country of origin because of a law known as the Country of Origin Labeling Act (COOL). But this labeling runs afoul of our international trade commitments, including those with two of our major trading partners, Canada and Mexico. What was intended to give American growers an advantage instead increased costs on producers and consumers and also proved to be a disruption to the free trade we have enjoyed with our neighbors.
As a result, these countries have been given the green light to impose substantial tariffs on a wide spectrum of American products—impacting U.S. jobs and placing undo harm on American farmers and ranchers.
Earlier this year the House voted to repeal COOL, and this repeal is included in the year-long appropriations bill the House will soon pass.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy made the following statement on the repeal language included in the bill:
“When government acts to replace free market success with government mandates, it is a recipe for disaster. Case in point is the Country of Origin Labeling Act, which has led to over $1 billion in retaliatory actions—harming ranchers, farmers, and wineries in California’s Central Valley. Protecting against these retaliatory actions is why the House voted to repeal COOL earlier this year. Congress is set to complete this effort and send a repeal of COOL to the President’s desk. Then, American and Californian agriculture can continue to focus on what it does best: feeding people across the world.”