This week’s poll asks, “Do you agree with WTO’s final ruling on COOL?”
I’ve been closely following as the World Trade Organization (WTO) considered the appeal case of the U.S. country of origin labeling (COOL) law brought on by Canada and Mexico. In late June, WTO issued its final decision, affirming the legitimacy of COOL as a tool to inform consumers about where their meat comes from. However, WTO also ruled that the law is unfair in bringing extra challenges for Canadian and Mexican beef and pork producers, saying it makes products that don’t originate from the U.S. look less favorable in the meat case.
With WTO approval to implement the COOL legislation, the big challenge will be doing so without impeding free trade from Canadian and Mexico.
According to Reuters, “WTO ruled that the labeling program unfairly discriminated against Mexico and Canada, putting pressure on the U.S. to bring the scheme in line with global trade rules. The WTO Appellate Body said that COOL is wrong because it gives less favorable treatment to beef and pork imported from Mexico and Canada, the countries that brought the case, than to U.S. meat.
“The decision is not subject to appeal, but gives the U.S. time to comply and does not immediately alter the labeling rules. U.S. officials hailed other parts of the decision, which they said affirmed the right to adopt country-of-origin labels, even though the U.S. will have to change how it operates the program.
“Meat labels became mandatory in March 2009 after years of debate. U.S. consumer and some farm groups supported the requirement, saying consumers should have information to distinguish between U.S. and foreign products.”
This week’s poll at beefmagazine.com asks the question, “Do you agree with WTO’s final ruling on COOL?”
With 95 votes in so far, the votes are nearly split, with 48% opposing the ruling and 45% in agreement. Another 8% are on the fence about it.
What’s your take? Vote in the poll here and share your opinions in the comments section below.