CPA: WTO Undermines US Sovereignty with Ruling Against Labeling Law

Coalition for a Prosperous America
For Immediate Release: May 18, 2015

Contact: Sara Haimowitz, sara; 202 688 5145

WTO Undermines US Sovereignty with Ruling Against Labeling Law

The Coalition for a Prosperous America expressed its disappointment today regarding yet another World Trade Organization ruling against US law. A WTO Appellate Body ruled against America’s popular Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) laws for meat, determining it was a “technical barrier to trade". The decision highlights how trade deals undermine US sovereignty.

America’s 13-year old COOL law requires labeling of pork and beef sold in the US to inform consumers the country in which the animals were born, raised and slaughtered.

“COOL is one of the most popular laws in the country,” said Michael Stumo, CEO of CPA. “Mothers and fathers want to know where their food comes from when making purchasing decisions for their families. American producers want consumers to know when the food sold is high quality US product.”

Today’s WTO ruling led by Presiding Member Ricardo Ramírez-Hernández, a Mexican national, favors both Canada and Mexico. Both countries challenged the U.S. COOL law. In May, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told Congress that COOL may need to be repealed if the final WTO ruling goes against the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts has expressed his opposition to COOL. However, many organizations have expressed support for keeping the COOL laws intact and consumer support is overwhelming."

“CPA urges Congress to avoid any action to repeal the COOL law,” continued Stumo. “There has been no determination by the WTO of any financial harm to Canada and Mexico; this decision comes later. If the panel finds little, if any, financial harm, there will be no monetary reason to change our labeling laws.”

Fast Track trade authority proponents have claimed that trade deals will not undermine US sovereignty. Today’s ruling further illustrates that those claims are false.

“Fast Track trade authority, if passed, will be in effect until 2021 and will generate even more trade deals, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, that go far beyond trade to penetrate our domestic policy including food safety and labeling,” continued Stumo. “America needs to retain the flexibility to govern itself in the future under our Constitution and laws. That is a significant reason why CPA members oppose Fast Track.”

The Coalition for a Prosperous America is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing the interests of 2.7 million households through our agricultural, manufacturing and labor members. CPA works for balanced trade and American prosperity.