The United States has strong grounds for appeal in the Country of Origin Labeling case with the World Trade Organization, said a U.S. Cattlemen's Association official, firing back against comments made last week by counsel for a Canadian livestock group.
"Recent comments by an attorney for the Canadian Cattlemen's Association that the law will inevitably be struck down should be seen for what they are: a paid advocate for a foreign competitor attempting to scare the U.S. Congress into hasty and unwarranted action," National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson said in a statement last week.
Thursday, the Canadian Cattlemen's Association counsel Edward Farrell was quoted by Bloomberg BNA as saying that for the U.S. to come into compliance with the WTO's regulations on the matter, "it needs to make a legislative change and the legislative change has got to be sufficient to eliminate the need to segregate."
But Johnson claimed the WTO has stood by the legitimacy of COOL requirements, which he said provide valuable information to consumers. USCA said the recent ruling overlooked the benefits of COOL and inappropriately attributed declining U.S. cattle imports to the label requirements.
The ruling also overestimated the cost of the rule, Johnson said, providing another reason for appeal.
"American consumers want to know where their meat and vegetables come from, and family farmers and ranchers are happy to provide that information," Johnson said. "We urge the administration needs to take all necessary steps to make it permanent."
But until the U.S. Trade Representative determines if an appeal will be pursued, Johnson says the threats of tariff retaliation are "scare tactics of industry litigants" and are not the "likely outcome" of the dispute.
According to the Bloomberg BNA article, if the U.S. does appeal, the final WTO adjudication might not come until next spring, and retaliatory action could follow 60 days later.
For more, follow the links above to previous coverage, and visit the Bloomberg article, COOL Opponent Says Regulatory Fix For WTO Labeling Dispute Is Not Feasible