6/29/14 9:46 AM EDT
Neither the United States Trade Representative nor the Department of Agriculture are saying yet which way the World Trade Organization has ruled in relation to the latest complaints against USDA’s Country of Origin Labeling rule. But a group of 62 trade associations, food manufacturers and other organizations have gone ahead and asked the chairmen and ranking members of both the House and Senate agriculture committees to order a suspension of the rule if the WTO found it constitutes an unfair trade practice and authorizes Canada and Mexico — the two protesting countries — “to subject an array of U.S. exports to retaliatory tariffs.”
“We respectfully submit that it would be intolerable for the United States to maintain, even briefly, a rule that has been deemed non-compliant by the WTO. With little potential for quick Congressional action after a WTO final adjudication, we request that Congress authorize and direct the Secretary of Agriculture to suspend indefinitely the revised COOL rule for muscle cuts of meat upon a final adjudication of non-compliance with WTO obligations,” the 62 associations and companies say in a letter sent Thursday.
Among the companies and organizations to sign on the letter: the American Beverage Association, Cargill Inc., Nestle USA, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Hershey Company, Nestle USA and the USA Rice Federation.
— Jason Huffman
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