COOL proponents to Congress: USTR data show you’re moving too fast


COOL proponents to Congress: USTR data show you’re moving too fast

8/4/15 1:38 PM EDT

Proponents of Country of Origin Labeling today are responding to a U.S. Trade Representative report on estimated damages, suggesting that House lawmakers moved too fast to repeal the law.

In a 41-page report delivered last week to the World Trade Organization, the USTR suggested the actual damages suffered by Mexico and Canada in relation to COOL are about $90.77 million, not the $3 billion being sought. The USTR says Canada’s and Mexico’s use of “fundamentally flawed” data explain the difference.

“Canada and Mexico have been bullying Congress with their over-inflated claims of damages, but USTR’s latest filing proves that this trade intimidation is all bluster,” says Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, in a statement released today. “Congress should wait for the final WTO decision rather than rashly eliminating or unraveling a law that consumers and farmers overwhelmingly support.”

“It is alarming that Congress and others who are supporting COOL repeal and/or voluntary COOL are so eager to defer to Canada’s and Mexico’s saber rattling rather than to critically analyze their outrageous claims,” says Bill Bullard, CEO of R-CALF USA.

The House in early June voted 300-131 to repeal the law. The Senate is considering multiple COOL-related bills, including one that would repeal the law and another that would create a voluntary labeling program. The latest information promises to reignite the debate once Congressional lawmakers return from August recess.

— Chase Purdy