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July 3, 2014

Waiting for COOL Final Report

For more information on Newsline, contact: Kari Barbic, Media Specialist, American Farm Bureau Federation, karib@fb.org.

A World Trade Organization compliance panel has released a confidential interim decision to government officials from the U.S., Canada and Mexico regarding a report on the case against Country of Origin Labeling rules for meats issued by the Agriculture Department. Seanica Otterby has the story.
OtterbyOfficials from the U.S., Canada and Mexico are currently reviewing the World Trade Organization’s interim decision regarding Country of Origin Labeling rules for meats issued by the Agriculture Department. American Farm Bureau trade specialist Dave Salmonsen says Farm Bureau is in favor of COOL, but members want a program that complies with international trade rules.
SalmonsenThe issues that this COOL regulation has to deal with go beyond informing consumers because they do have international trade impacts. COOL regulations have a lot of things they have to conform with and live up to before we see the end of this process.
OtterbyA final report from the WTO is expected at the end of July.
SalmonsenWe’ll be looking closely for specific direction of what USDA needs to do, either affirming that what they’ve done was in compliance with the previous WTO dispute panel or the specifics on other changes that would have to be made to bring it into compliance.
OtterbyDepending on what is in the final report, Salmonsen says this issue may not be resolved for a while.
SalmonsenThere’s always a possibility of an appeal. The U.S. or Canada and Mexico can file an appeal, and then that would have to go to a WTO appellate body, and so we’re still talking about this issue going into next year if all that happens.
OtterbySeanica Otterby, Washington.

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