AMI joins chorus for COOL delay
By Tom Johnston on 5/8/2013
The American Meat Institute said Monday it joined seven other meat, poultry and retail associations asking in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that the proposed country-of-origin labeling rule be delayed until the World Trade Organization determines whether the final rule brings the United States into compliance with international trade regulations.
In the letter the groups also press the U.S. Trade Representative to negotiate a "sequencing agreement" with Canada and Mexico that would waive the requirement for the complainants to put in a retaliation request within 30 days of the expiration of the compliance period on May 23. Such an agreement would preserve Canadian and Mexican legal rights until the completion of the WTO’s compliance process, the groups contend.
They argue in the letter that, “there is no legal requirement for the United States to make the rule effective before the WTO Compliance Panel considers and decides whether a final rule is in compliance.”
The groups contend that the rule proposed March 12 does not comply with WTO rules. The body asked for changes, saying the original legislation discriminated against imports of Canadian and Mexican cattle and did not meet its aim of providing consumers with useful information about the origin of the meat products they purchase.